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SMITHVILLE - Gray skies and rain did not stop the fun at Smithville’s Oktoberfest on Saturday as hundreds gathered to see all that the historic village had to offer.

Oktoberfest is an annual tradition that originated in Germany in honor of the royal wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. While the original Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany each year, festivities have spread all across the globe.

Dozens of vendors lined the walkways in Historic Smithville to offer everything from food to crafts. One of the most popular food stands offered the traditional German fair of bratwurst and sauerkraut. There also was a vendor who offered the traditional beverage of Oktoberfest, beer.

Another vendor, who may be familiar to some, offered an item not usually associated with Oktoberfest, cannoli. “I love the people and our pumpkin cannoli fits perfectly into the event,” said Gabriella Tomasello, owner of Mannino’s Cannoli Express. Tomasello was invited to be a vendor at Oktoberfest when someone from Smithville scouted her out at one of her previous events.

Among the various vendors that were there was John Cristinzio, who runs a business called Beautiful Art. Cristinzio creates custom metal works that include home and garden décor, candle holders and engraving. “This is my third time coming out. I really enjoy it — good people, good beer,” he said. Cristinzio can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beautifulartbyjohn or reached at (856) 318-1509.

All of Smithville’s usual shops were open, along with Smithville’s famous carousal and train. Visitors also had a chance to see the newly up and running water wheel at the Grist Mill.

While Oktoberfest represents the beginning of October, the holiday season is right around the corner, which means it is the perfect time to start planning and buying gifts. However, there are many families that are not fortunate enough to do so, which is where Toys For Tots comes in.

The Cape Atlantic Detachment of the Marine Corps Reserves #194 was at Smithville to kick off their fundraising for Toys For Tots so every child can wake up to a present on Christmas morning. “We are grateful for whatever we get” said Commandant Bill McCrudden. If you are interested in donating to Toys For Tots, please visit their website at www.toysfortots.org.

Historic Smithville has many events throughout out the year, which can be found at http://www.smithvillenj.com/events/.

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