Oktoberfest - Fun & Responsibility
That familiar atmosphere is back, of dancing in the aisles, apple strudel, and a loving embrace by a giant chicken. But also in the air this year? Change.
"There's a lot of people that aren't happy about this, about a lot less liquid for a lot more money," said Hunter Niemi, talking about the replacement of pitchers with steins. And the process of getting those steins filled? That's changed too.
"No bracelets this year, every station that has alcohol or beer, you have to i.d.," said an Oktoberfest employee.
But one thing that hasn't changed is the highly visible police presence.
"We have several TPD officers out here, we have several T-shirt security officers as well," said Sgt. Chris Witt.
The unofficial count of cops?
"There's literally like a million police officers here looking for drunks," said Hunter.
Which is a lot, and which may go towards explaining how an event like this, with so much alcohol, isn't some sort of dangerous drunk fest.
"I've worked Oktoberfest for over 20 years and there may be an occasional DUI, but you don't hear of accidents, you don't hear of a large number of DUI arrests," said Sgt. Witt.
The message is out there, they're watching, be responsible. Hunter for example didn't drive.
"I walked across the bridge. I live in the neighborhood across the 21st street bridge, so we just walked across the bridge, partaking, and then walking home," he said.