CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As many as 1,500 people are expected Saturday afternoon and evening at OktoberWest, the West Side's annual beer and bratwurst blast."It's our largest fundraiser of the year," West Side Main Street Director Stephanie Johnson said of the neighborhood's new fall tradition, now in its eighth year."Last year we had about 1,200," she said. "We anticipate over 1,300 people. That's a conservative estimate. Our advertising has picked up."Loosely modeled after the Munich fest with a similar name, OktoberWest features German style food -- brats, hotdogs, potato and macaroni salad, sauerkraut and dessert -- plus beverages.
That includes beer, of course, from two West Virginia microbreweries. You can sample Mountain State's Almost Heaven Amber Ale and Miner's Daughter Oatmeal Stout, or Roedy's Red and Northern Light from North End. In addition, Capitol Beverage will provide Sam Adams Oktoberfest and Shiner Bock.The Grill, a West Side favorite, will be doing the catering, Johnson said, with donations from Fas-Chek and Kroger.WVU football fans won't miss a minute of action; Sodaro's plans to set up an outdoor screen for the afternoon game, Johnson said.The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Bigley Avenue beside Kelley's Mens Shop. You can sit and eat under a large tent or, if you've got connections, at one of the smaller corporate tents.The Carpenter Ants will be playing and hip-hop dancer Tiffany Finkton will perform. A cornhole tournament and children's activities round out the attractions."It's a family event although they do serve beer," Johnson said.You can buy advance tickets through Saturday morning at The Grill, Kelley's, T-Graphics, Fountain Hobby, Pile Hardware and Charleston Department Store. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. Children under 13 are $5.Other sponsors include First Bank of Charleston, Huntington Banks, BB&T, Forren Soil, Gaddy Engineering and Tudor's Biscuit World/Gino's.Reach Jim Balow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5102.