Willkommen, Westoberfest

For a decade, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association sponsored Blues, Views & BBQ.

This year, after the Labor Day weekend music and food festival evolved into a regional event — drawing visitors from as far as New York, but who seldom ventured beyond the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue venues — the WDMA handed it off to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

That left a hole in the downtown group’s calendar. They wanted something new — but Main Street oriented.

Welcome, Westoberfest! It’s set for next Saturday (October 13), from 1 to 5 p.m.

Like Oktoberfests everywhere, this one features beer, food, music and more. Over 18 local and regional breweries will offer seasonal craft beers in the Elm Street parking lot. Merchants will walk around, handing out coupons and free items.

Rothbard Ale + Larder and Kawa Ni will serve special cuisines. Amber Anchor plays; kids can enjoy face painting, and the Westport Artists Collective, Historical Society, Library, Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace will all participate too.

Also on tap: a pop-up artisan market courtesy of the Westport Farmers’ Market, and a classic car rally and exhibition through the Small Car Company of Westport.

It’s all free (except for the beer tasting). Those tickets ($35 for single, $60 for a pair, in advance online only, and a pack of 10 for $280, in advance online only) are available here.

If you think a lot goes on in Westport next weekend, you’re right. There’s also Saugatuck StoryFest at the library, Jesup Green and other sites.

This is one time no one will sing the downtown blues.

9 responses to “Willkommen, Westoberfest

  1. Just to clarify, the Blues, Views & BBQs festival was not handed off to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. It was handed off to a for-profit limited liability company called BVBBQ, LLC which was formed on April 10th of this year. That company lists two principals: Westport RTM member Matt Mandel and a man from Fairfield named Derek C. Signore. BVBBQ, LLC lists its business address as 41 Riverside Ave. Westport – the same address as the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

  2. Michael Calise

    A for profit entity for the benefit of the Chamber I assume

    • I would not assume anything.

      But either way, it’s worth asking how it is that one private entity (Friends of the Levitt, the 501c(3) which uses the town owned Levitt Pavilion rent free under a 2012 license agreement is contracting with another private entity (the for-profit BVBBQ, LLC) to rent out said public facility. We know the Friends sure aren’t shy about charging top dollar; they just stuck up our own school district for seven grand – for one night. Of course it would be important to know where the net proceeds from the pig festival are actually going since we’re talking about the use of town owned property. But I also want to know why the taxpayers aren’t getting paid. It’s our facility, we’ve got over 1 million into it , we maintain it, we give the Friends free office space and we even kick in money every year towards their expenses. I tried to ask the Levitt Governing Committee, the public agency charged with overseeing the Levitt since 1973 and currently listed on the town web site. Guess what? It doesn’t exist any more. There’s no one in charge at all.

      • Curiouser and curiouser.

      • John F. Suggs

        Well there is someone in charge – sadly, just not the people with the appropriate authority when the Town created the Levitt. The “Friends of the Levitt” (which was originally established to fundraise for the Town’s Levitt Governance Committee – very similar to how the “Friends of the Westport Library” historically fundraise for the Library’s Board of Trustees (LBOT) – half of the LBOT btw are duly appointed by the Town/RTM). But the “Friends of the Levitt” have – from all indications – successfully staged a coup and taken over. Can you imagine if the “Friends of the Westport Library” overthrew the Library’s Board of Trustees?! That is basically what the “Friends of the Levitt” have done at the Town owned Levitt. Amazing! Yet that is why the Westport Schools are being charged $7,000 to use the Levitt for one night to celebrate our students. I would encourage concerned 06880 readers to ask Jim Marpe, Westports First Selectman, why he has stopped the practice – going back to the 1970’s – of every First Selectman appointing the members to the Levitt Governance Cmt? The RTM always makes their appointments to the Library Board of Trustees (and thus no coups by the “Friends of the Library”). Why have you neglected your responsibilities Jim? I am sure if you made the required appointments to the Levitt Governance Cmt they would not charge our schools $7,000 to honor our students one night at the Levitt. Jim? What say you?

        • John;
          I think the types of questions you and Morely are asking need to be asked about every instance in which taxpayer funded resources are transferred to private entities. Cui bono ?

  3. Carol Buffinton

    No wonder we are having so many problems with the Levitt!

  4. The GREAT news here is that our event, WESTOBERFEST, is happening right in the heart of downtown Westport, in the new Elm Street lot, just steps away from so many wonderful shops and restaurants. In addition, some stores (Savannah Bee, Simon Pearce and The Brownstone) will also host author events in conjunction with Saugatuck Storyfest, making this a wonderful day to visit downtown! We hope to see everyone there 🙂