Beau’s Oktoberfest, the signature fundraising event of Beau’s Brewing Co., put on its 10th annual edition in Vankleek Hill Ontario this past weekend, Friday Sept. 21 and Saturday Sept. 22. While much of Friday’s programming was impacted by the severe weather that evening, Saturday saw the return of better weather and attendance reached 17,000 over the two days. The celebration of Bavarian culture and independent craft brewing also generated $94,323 in good-works funding this year, bringing the total raised in 10 years to $711,212.
“Our 10th edition of Oktoberfest had some exhilarating highs and some extreme-weather-related challenges,” notes Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “We kept our guests safe during the storm, and made the most of a difficult situation Friday, and on Saturday when the sky cleared we had an amazing time and did a lot of good. I’m looking forward to what the next 10 years of Oktoberfest will bring.”
The funds raised this year at Beau’s Oktoberfest will benefit numerous community-building projects and charities. With another $10,000 top up this year, Beau’s has now contributed $40,000 for new diagnostic equipment to The Hawkesbury and District General Hospital Foundation. The Vankleek Hill Agriculture Society also will receive another $10,000 in support from festival funds raised, and Hawkesbury Rotary Club will receive $8,000 to continue its charitable work in the local community.
The United Way Charity Bike Ride to Beau’s Oktoberfest took place again this year with a record number of riders, raising $42,309 for its “Youth to Home” and “Youth Matters Supportive Housing” programming. Since 2013, Beau’s Oktoberfest has now generated a grand total of $167,157 in funds for various United Way local initiatives. Other groups that will benefit include Hidden Harvest Ottawa, Ottawa Riverkeeper, For Pivot’s Sake, Opportunity Knox (VKH), Healthy Eating for Better Learning, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cornwall, and The Grant Howes Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The festival once again hosted an onsite Homebrewers Competition run by Ottawa’s “Members of Barleyment” club. The judges evaluated 632 samples this year, and selected a kolsch as the Best of Show winner, brewed by Colin VanderMeulen. As the winner, VanderMeulen will be invited to Beau’s next summer to brew a batch of beer with the Beau’s brew team for Oktoberfest.
The Saturday main stage featured headlining act Sloan, as well as Canadian artists Weaves, Fred Penner, The Kingpins, and daytime entertainment from Canada’s Polka King Walter Ostanek. The main stage entertainment had to be cancelled Friday night due to the imminent threat of severe weather. The festival served up 15 Beau’s beers on tap, alongside seasonally inspired culinary creations from 28 local restaurants.
Beau’s Oktoberfest (beausoktoberfest.ca) will return for an 11th edition in 2019, with dates to be announced later this year.
Beau’s Oktoberfest 2018 – By the Numbers
Funds raised: $94,323
10-Year Total: $711,212
2018 attendance: 17,000
Litres of beer and cider served: 21,741 L
Most popular beer of the festival: Lug Tread
People who rode bus shuttles: 3,156
Portions of food prepared: 44,800
Beers entered in Homebrew Competition: 632
Number of festival volunteers: 785 (plus 126 Beau’s staff)
Volunteer hours served: 4,985
Approx. number of reusable dishes & cutlery washed to reduce waste: 35,840
Sunday “Beer Brunches” served: 280
Camping attendance: 128 RVs, 472 tents, 11 VW buses
Saturday Ferris Wheel rides: 715