TULSA, Oklahoma -- Just a week before the 2011 version of Oktoberfest is set to start, the River Parks Authority has voted to take over all aspects of the event.
Founded in 1979 by a diverse group of companies and groups, Oktoberfest eventually came to be run by a group called Oktoberfest, Inc.
The River Parks board of directors has voted to assume complete control of the event. River Parks staff told the board the new arrangement is already paying off.
The staff told the board at its Thursday meeting that for the first time ever corporate night at the event is sold out. Corporate night happens on the Wednesday before Oktoberfest opens to the public.
Tonja Pitzer, River Parks Authority director of community relations, told the board that companies are asking for extra tickets to the event.
The board also approved a contract that will make Oktoberfest, Inc. its purchasing agent for the event, which allows the authority to take advantage of the group's non-profit status and make festival-related purchases tax exempt.
The authority posted a message on its Facebook page which appears to anticipate negative feedback on the new arrangement:
Let's nip this in the bud...you might be hearing in the next few days about the new River Parks/Oktoberfest relationship. To sum up: it's a good thing. River Parks and Oktoberfest have always worked closely together. This year, River Parks and Oktoberfest Board and volunteers have made a lot of new things happen, including more sponsorships, greater buying power, increased online presence, etc...basically, we're shooting for the best Oktoberfest yet! We've been working non-stop on this, and can't wait to see Tulsans/out-of-towners enjoying themselves and chicken-dancing.
The 33rd Tulsa River Parks Oktoberfest runs October 20th-23rd at River West Festival Park.
The River Parks Authority staff says the new arrangement gives it complete control over the event, from setting admission prices to choosing which bands are invited to play.