Harsh winds recall memories of fallen tent as Oktoberfest begins

TULSA - Five years after a heavy windstorm flattened a Tulsa Oktoberfest tent, the 2012 festival kick-off came amid similar gusts.

Interstate 35 was closed down near the Oklahoma-Kansas border for hours Thursday afternoon after high winds severely limited visibility and contributed to 20 to 30 accidents.

About 50 people were injured by the fallen tent in 2005, a fact the festival is well aware of. But Tulsa's 34th Oktoberfest may have just the trick to keep people safe this time around.

"After that time we went with new tents, a new tent company, a new style of tent," said festival organizer Tonja Pitzer.

There's also a plan in place to get everyone out, if needed, Pitzer said.

Around 60,000 visitors attend Oktoberfest each year.

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