Oktoberfest called the best ever

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Mason Maxwell worked the parking lot at Oktoberfest Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7 – his 13th birthday.

GALLOWAY – There have been some big days at Oktoberfest at Historic Smithville. Saturday, Oct. 6 may have been the biggest.

“At Smithville Inn and Fred and Ethel’s it was one of the best we’ve ever had,” said Tony Coppola Jr., vice president of Smithville Hospitality, which operates the two eateries. “The vendors I spoke to all said it was one of the best they ever had.”

With a dour weather forecast for Sunday, many people who would have attended the second day went on Saturday instead. And as a bonus, Sunday’s weather was OK – so while it was nothing like Saturday’s crowd, there was still a good attendance.

“Traffic was backed up to the parkway bridge,” Coppola said. “Thank God for the police directing traffic. Obviously there are delays, but we do the best we can to keep Route 9 moving.”

One of the people directing traffic Saturday was Galloway’s EMS Director Mike Brandenberger.

“What a great guy,” said Coppola, who is also the township’s deputy mayor. “He’s a doer, a giver. Most of what he does he volunteers his time for. And he never tells you ‘no.’ He finds ways to get things done.”

Coppola said Oktoberfest has gotten so big that this year Smithville had to turn some vendors away.

“In front of Smithville Inn we always reserve space for non-profits,” he said. “We’ve got Boy Scouts, canine rescues, Habitat for Humanity, the Marine Corps League and Rolling Thunder.”

Other non-profits manage the parking lots, accepting donations for their service.

The Fourth of July Parade runs the big parking lot directly across Moss Mill Road from Smithville.

Much of the day, people were met as they entered by parade committee President Rich Maxwell or Vice President Michael DiLullo.

Maxwell’s grandson Mason spent his birthday weekend finding spots and directing cars to them.

DiLullo said the Oktoberfest traffic was greater than he has ever seen.

“Usually with people leaving, you’re always able to keep the lot open and accommodate the cars,” he said. “Today (Saturday), we’ve had to close the lot several times because it was full.”

Coppola said the event has proven to be great for merchants and for the community.

“It’s a win-win-win,” he said. “I’m really proud of what it has become.”

Troop 177 Egg Harbor Township Boy Scouts sell personalized dog tags. From left in back are Gregory Battschinger, Joshua Kopp, Nick LeConey and Vito Acosta. In front are Ryan Maslowas and Kyle and Lucas Dailyda.

Crowd mills through Historic Smithville.

Publicizing the Toys 4 Tots program for the Cape Atlantic Marine Corps League are, from left, Rich Tuthill of Egg Harbor Township, Paul Robinson of Brigantine and Charles Fields of Egg Harbor Township.

Representing Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 are from left, Frank Polidore of Oaklyn, Paul Berenotto of Buena and Jeff Nelson of Vineland.

Passing out pins, selling T-shirts and accepting donations for Atlantic County Habitat for Humanity are from left, Linda Dickens-Hall of Pleasantville, Jessica Wenger of Mays Landing, Zelda Solof of Ventnor and Christine Daisey of Atlantic City.

Jill Heston of Jackson stands with a motorcycle to be raffled March 21 for Hometown Heroes of Toms River.

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