Maybe this is just the Warsteiner talking, but I think Oktoberfest’s relocation to the Arena District was a great move for the German Village tradition. (The fest is still run by and benefits the German Village Society.)
I had a lot of fun at the festival on Saturday afternoon/evening, eating my way all up and down the Rhine: soft pretzel from Juergen's Bakery, sauerkraut balls from the Hey Hey and (deep breath) a Bahama Mama, kraut, potato salad and cream puff from Schmidt's. I don’t speak German, but after that binge I started to understand what “farfegnugen” means.
Then there’s the Warsteiner, a crisp German pilsner: $6 for a 32-oz. mug may be the best beer bargain in outdoor fests. Don’t worry, I took the bus home.
Which brings me to my point about the Arena District. It’s easy to get to, and there’s lots of parking. German Village is quaint and all, but it’s not exactly the most convenient place to host the city’s biggest beer bash.
But that I expected. What surprised me was how accommodating McFerson Commons was. The Arena District park is a great size and shape for a paid-admission event like Oktoberfest -- small enough to fence off, but not too cramped. And its design -- a stepped terrace at the south end, and lower-level walkway around the perimeter -- really breaks up the space, offering lots of little nooks and ledges to sit and chat or listen to the music. It really worked out well. I think more fests and outdoor events should keep their eyes on the Commons.