By Laura Dildine
This past Sunday, Main Street in Stroudsburg played host to the Oktoberfest Finish Line Festival. Vendors lined the streets from the Sherman up until 7th street where the finish line was located for the Triathlon.
The Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains came to Stroudsburg for the first time. Competitors were required to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles.
However, due to the rain that caused the Delaware River to swell, the swim portion of the triathlon was cancelled. Even still, 50 lucky racers who placed at the top of their age group qualified to go to the Ironman World Championship 70.3.
The World Triathlon Corporation will host the men’s championship in Australia while the women’s championship is slated to be held in Hawaii.
The finish line on Main Street was lined with friends and family of the racers as well as race
enthusiasts. People had all sorts of whistles and noisemakers to cheer the runners on for their last stretch. There was intense music playing that really got attendees cheering and in the mood for the race. People at the finish line were smiling and talking cheerfully, enjoying the vibe and the race.
Down the street, Oktoberfest was booming. Booths were set up with vendors selling everything from food to crafts, to offering a free chiropractic exam. Oktoberfest, hosted by the Sherman Theatre, had four different musical performances throughout the 5 hour long event: Christian Porter Band, Matt Abell and Pearls Before Swine, Kevin Brennan Band, and Waiting For Katie. Each band offered their own style of music that set a good ambiance for those walking down the street and examining the vendors. However, only a couple people seemed to stand in front of the stage for any length of time to enjoy the show.
Of course, being Oktoberfest, three vendors offered beer on tap with big names, from Sam Adams to the local Shawnee brewery. The vendors offered free samples and then allowed people to purchase beer for five dollars. Up and down the street, attendees sipped their beer, enjoyed good food from local restaurants, like The Willow Tree, and saw crafts made by artists, including gourd bird nests and ornaments. While the music had more of a background ambiance and there were only three beer vendors, Oktoberfest was an enjoyable event, even if people just took a stroll down the middle of Main Street for a moment.
Competitors and attendees alike were lucky that the rain held off for most of the afternoon. Although, as the afternoon waned, the rain set in and the coldness seeped down to the bone for attendees. Even still, with the rain setting in and the temperature dropping, quite a crowd developed around the stage for the announcing of the winners and those who would attend the Ironman World Triathlon. The crowd was rather subdued and quiet for an award ceremony and many vendors were just packing up and leaving by that point.
It may not have been sunny and the crowd may have been quiet at times, but the people there were smiling, so it certainly seems to have been a good time.