WINCHESTER — Area resident Jim Sparrow was crowned Friday afternoon as Burgermeister for this year’s Oktoberfest celebration.

Sparrow, 81, is the first Burgermeister to be crowned in Winchester. The ceremony took place on the Loudoun Street Mall before about 30 people. Old Town Winchester officials selected him because he is an active member of the community who has given his time to help with many downtown events. He has volunteered for Oktoberfest, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, Doo Dah parades and is a member of the Kiwanis club.

“I love it,” Sparrow said of receiving the honor. “I think this is great for the city. I think this is really going to put us on the map.”

Oktoberfest will take place Oct. 11 and 12 in Old Town Winchester.

Holly Redding, co-owner of Winchester Brew Works, swore Sparrow in on Friday. Sparrow promised he would promote fun and excitement throughout Oktoberfest. He also promised to promote volunteerism, “keep glasses filled and hearts full” and uphold the Burgermeister title with smiles, dignity and grace.

“He will greet people here on the walking mall,” said Dario Savarese, president of Full Circle Marketing, which helps coordinate events for the city. “And if they share good tidings, he will provide, maybe, a good tasting of one of the beers.”

The significance of the Burgermeister derives from early 13th century German culture. Although not all of the Burgermeister’s duties are known, the Burgermeister is said to have acted as the presiding member of the civic council and looked over current affairs while enforcing city ordinances. The Burgermeister’s job translates to a mayor in the German municipal system.

Guests who choose to purchase a ticket for Oktoberfest will receive six tastings for beer and wine and a commemorative glass beer stein. Tickets for this year’s Oktoberfest are $20 until midnight Oct. 10 and $25 on Oct. 11 and 12. Tickets are good for one day only. Guests who have purchased a ticket can also buy additional tastings or a full drink for $5 during the event. To buy tickets in advance, go to

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Winchester SPCA.

— Contact Josh Janney at

(1) comment


Don't forget to invite the Mayor of Strasburg! [innocent]

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