DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Art Institute’s biggest annual fundraiser, Oktoberfest, will kick off this weekend. Organizers are already beginning to prepare for the event, which is expected to draw nearly 30,000 people between Friday and Sunday.

“This helps to support your Dayton Art Institute [and] keep us running. And we were hit hard during the pandemic. And this fundraiser is going to help us to continue to serve our mission of creating meaningful experiences with art that are available to all,” said director and CEO of the art institute, Michael Roediger.

Last year, the event, which is known for its variety of food, drinks and entertainment, was held virtually. In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 this year, Roediger said there will be a handful of changes attendees should be prepared for.

“The museum will not be open during the festival this year,” he said. “And I know that’s disappointing as well. No artisan tents. We will have hand sanitizer throughout the festival. Again, guests are encouraged to wear masks when they’re not eating or drinking. All of the staff will be wearing them and most volunteers.”

He said guests should also be cognizant of where to park.

“What we encourage everybody to do — right by the University of Dayton Marriott, there’s a lot there. We’ll be running shuttles all weekend. People can park in that lot for free. We’ll shuttle them over for free. [That] really makes it easy. If they want to park closer, right across the street, the Masonic lot has paid parking. It’s very affordable. And then there is parking in the neighborhood but it’s at a premium. We encourage you not to park along the river or in the park by the museum because you will be towed.”

Like most other years, there will be a variety of beer and food options, as well as music and children’s entertainment. And in addition to once again being able to gather as a community, Roediger said this year, there are a number of reasons to celebrate.

“This is the 50th anniversary. We’re honoring Brock Anderson, Sr., who was one of the main people who helped make this festival huge as our largest fundraiser. We lost Brock a couple years ago. And so I hope people come out to celebrate the Dayton Art Institute, Oktoberfest, and the memory of Brock.

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