The German Village Society is continuing to go forward with plans to move its annual Oktoberfest celebration back to the village and has announced one major change: The event is likely to be free.

The German Village Society is continuing to go forward with plans to move its annual Oktoberfest celebration back to the village and has announced one major change: The event is likely to be free.

The society met with various city officials Feb. 18 to discuss whether it would be feasible to move the event to South Third Street between Beck and Frankfort streets. Bill Curlis, a society trustee and chair of Oktoberfest, said the meeting was encouraging and that the society will continue to plan the event as if it will take place in the village.

Among items of interest to come out of the meeting was that the society is discussing not gating the event and not charging admission.

"We think that will be a very big deal. We were the last gated event downtown," Curlis said, "and the reason the others had taken the gates off was because it affects attendance."

The change in the Oktoberfest is part of the society's goal of re-imagining the celebration and how the society holds fundraisers. In recent months, trustees have said the society is stepping away from weather-dependent events to help keep its budget in check. In the past several years, poor weather during Oktoberfest has hurt the society's bottom line.

Last year, the event was held a Genoa Park in the Arena District and the society brought in $60,000 from having it gated, Curlis said.

With no admission charge, Curlis, said the society expects to recoup money through sponsorships and a higher attendance.

"What we are going to do is try to maximize our participation in food sales and other ways that won't affect customers," Curlis said.

Oktoberfest typically draws 35,000 people and 12,000 vehicles.

The society's next step in bring the event to German Village will be to receive permission from property owners to shut down South Third Street for four days, Curlis said.

In order to shut down the street, the society needs permission from 80 percent of the property owners, he said. The society wants to accomplish this by the beginning of June.

"That will be the final determiner to see if we can go that route," Curlis said. "If we can't make that happen we'll have to go with another plan."

Curlis said the society plans to start seeking permission post haste. He said the society plans to present a packet of information to each resident on the street who would be affected.

The society plans to provide parking for residents who would be affected, Curlis said, adding that there will be signs indicating where those attending cannot cross the street with alcohol.

He said the plans to date call for having the event on the east side of South Third Street while leaving the west side open as a fire lane.