In late September, in the beautiful environment of Waterfront Park in Burlington, Vermont, hundreds of people attended the first annual Oktoberfest. Over 5,000 ticket buyers came to enjoy some of the many unique cultural aspects of Munich, Germany, such as traditional German foods, Oom-pah music, and of course a great variety of beer, cider, and lager. The weekend-long festival also celebrated local food, New England fall foliage, and locally crafted rustic decorations, offering several games and contests to ensure endless fun.
A Large Selection of Beer
Over 40 brewers from famous local breweries, regional breweries, and traditional German Oktoberfest breweries were in attendance of the event. Some of the breweries included: Palaner Bier, Warsteiner, Burlington Beer Company, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Two Roads Brewing, Smuttynose Brewing Company, and Queen City Brewery. The first two beer tasting days of the festival – Friday and Saturday – were exclusive to those 21 and older, however, the last day of the event was open to all ages.
Not Just Beer But Fine Cuisine Too
Oktoberfest served everything from authentic German food to some of the finest Burlington cuisine, including some of the best barbecue in the state and several free cheese samples! Options included Bluebird Barbecue, Myer’s Wood Fired Bagels, Kountry Kart Deli, and more.
Fun & Games
Games included a Stein Hoisting competition, a Frisbee-tossing competition, Corn Hole, Ring Toss, Plinko, and Beer Pong. Every game and competition had their own prizes, including everything from cash prizes to cozies, to t-shirts, to huge trophies! Continuing the fun, many individuals dressed up in Lederhosen, Alpine hats, Dirndl dresses, and Beer Maid costumes.
Sponsored by FreePressMedia, 106.7 WIZN, 98.9 WOKO, and 99.9 the Buzz, the four-day long event was a very large success. Both days offering beer tasting – Friday and Saturday – sold out of 2,500 tickets each day. Burlington was indeed excited for its own Oktoberfest, no doubt.
Fantastic Scenery & Location
According to many of the attendees, it was very fortunate that the Burlington Oktoberfest was held on the last week of September because the weather was fantastic and the location was perfect. Lou DiMasi, co-organizer of the event said that the Oktoberfest “has been in the works for two years,” and that “having a site like this, together with the craft beer community in Vermont is a special thing.”
For many of the local breweries of the German festival, participating was the obvious thing to do. Phil Kaszuba, an owner of Queen City Brewery on Pine Street in Burlington expressed his excitement. “We want to be part of this, we’re thrilled to see it sold out for a first-year event,” Kaszuba said. “It’s an outstanding, festive atmosphere. The music is great. Everybody is having a good time. How can you not smile and have fun?”
Oktoberfest Vermont was concluded on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with Family Day, which was free of charge and open to all ages. 25 vendors lined up in the park in a German market-style fashion, offering food and other goods. Family Day included a large bouncy house for children and a demonstration of fly fishing by L.L. Beans. Beer was still available for purchase at a beer tent. Planning for Oktoberfest for your next visit to Vermont, would be worth the effort especially with the spectacular setting that is in Vermont and the wonderful view of Lake Champlain.
Samantha Howard is a wedding coordinator for the Spirit of Ethan Allen at Lake Champlain. As a wedding coordinator she guides several couples on their journey to matrimony and that sometimes includes giving them inspiration and tips on managing, planning and decorating for their wedding.