INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Organizers have been busy preparing for the return of the Oktoberfest on the Beach event since the popular Bavarian-themed beer festival was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
And while city officials and members of Action 2000 IRB, the community beautification nonprofit that hosts the free event, have lowered expectations after reducing the festival’s footprint by reducing the number of vendor seats and eliminating the big beer tent, they still expect a nice turnout due to the desire to get together outdoors as well as the ingrained local interest in the special signature event of the ‘IRB.
This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, from noon to 6 p.m. at Kolb Park.
âAfter having to cancel so many city events due to COVID restrictions, this year’s Oktoberfest is creating quite a buzz,â said IRB A2K President Diane Flagg. âEveryone can’t wait to be outside to meet up with friends and neighbors and enjoy a day at the park with music, food, drink, vendors and games. I think Kolb Park will be the place to be this Saturday!
Indeed, based on early feedback, including engagement on social media, donations exceeding $ 30,000 and having sold all vendor locations, organizers recognize that attendance will be lower than in the past, so that about 5,000 people filled the park. But local interest in the event remains high.
“The good news is that we have sold the vendors’ seats,” IRB commissioner and Oktoberfest committee chairman Ed Hoofnagle said at the monthly A2K meeting in September, noting that he there would be around 10 fewer spaces than in previous years, but that it would still go around the park. without overlap from similar suppliers.
At their October meeting, Hoofnagle said the large beer tent has been phased out in favor of using the Town Hall auditorium as a place for attendees to eat, drink and cool off. But he said they would have three smaller tents for shade outside and bales of hay for customers to sit on the grounds. He also pointed out that Oktoberfest would always feature the games, activities and attractions that attendees have grown to love over the past 20 years, including barrel throws and stein races, 50-50 raffles and an auction of a painting by Plein Aire Cottage Artists co-founder Mary Rose Holmes.
âAnd we have an unlimited supply of beer, so we don’t have to worry about it! Hoofnagle joked and A2K treasurer Diane Agar noted that wearing costumes is encouraged.
âIt should be a lot of fun and a welcome sight for everyone in the community,â she said.
Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy agreed, and she praised the group for working tirelessly to organize the event.
âThe city is grateful to all of the volunteers and the hard work that went into hosting Oktoberfest, one of Indian Rocks Beach’s flagship events,â said Kennedy. “We look forward to a safe fun day and the start of our fall season.”