Westport Oktoberfest festival kicks off as many remain wary of r - KCTV5

Westport Oktoberfest festival kicks off as many remain wary of recent violence

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Fans of German beer and lederhosen are getting the chance to celebrate and kick off their weekend a little early in Westport. (KCTV5) Fans of German beer and lederhosen are getting the chance to celebrate and kick off their weekend a little early in Westport. (KCTV5)
Oktoberfest begins Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Char Bar. There, officials will tap the first keg of the festival. (KCTV5) Oktoberfest begins Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Char Bar. There, officials will tap the first keg of the festival. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Fans of German beer and lederhosen are getting the chance to celebrate and kick off their weekend a little early in Westport.

Oktoberfest begins Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Char Bar. There, officials will tap the first keg of the festival.

The festival will feature an incredible array of food, beer, live entertainment and unique attractions.

“We’re hoping for some Lederhosen and everything to come in and hopefully people just embrace the event and have a little fun with it and whether or not you like beer, or your German or you like wiener dogs or whatever, it may be, hopefully, there’s something for everybody,” said Tia Simpson, Marketing Manager for Westport Regional Business League.

And for those who like competition, a couple of pushups may be in order to get the muscles ready for Thursday's stein hoisting contest. During the event, contestants hold a beer stein in front of them for as long as possible. And while it seems easy, officials say the glass gets heavy in a hurry.

While good beer and Germanic heritage will be the focus of the event, the top two things on everyone’s mind when they have come to Westport recently are parking and safety, due to a recent string of violence in the area.

A number of recent shootings in Westport have made some people a little nervous.

Here’s a look at the recent incidents in Westport.

On Saturday, two people were shot near the corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue; an intersection that features several popular bars.

A woman was also shot in the arm on Sept. 20.

And in August, Lee’s Summit police officer Thomas Orr was shot and killed while at Californos’.

The Kansas City Police Department says they will be out in force to ensure everyone is safe during the festival.

“We’re just hoping that a good mix of people come out, whether it's families...hopefully a lot of people come out and enjoy what’s going on,” Simpson said.

KCPD officers will handle traffic and crowd control at the festival and will be assisted by Westport security.

On Friday, Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from 40th Terrace to Archibald Avenue. Westport Road will close from Broadway Boulevard to Mill Street on Saturday.

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