Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 mark the return of Beau’s Brewing Company’s award-winning celebration of craft beer, community, food, music, fun and Bavarian culture. The 9th annual Beau’s Oktoberfest takes place at the fairgrounds in the small Eastern Ontario village of Vankleek Hill.
Last year’s event was awarded the title of Culinary Tourism Event of the Year by the 2016 Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence. The 8th edition also welcomed more than 20,000 festival-goers with a spirited sold-out crowd on the Saturday.
This year’s all-Canadian musical lineup includes the Juno and Polaris Prize-nominated Stars headlining the main stage on Friday night. Indie rock pioneer and Genie award winners, the Rheostatics close out the main stage on Saturday night. Considered among Canada’s most influential rock bands, Rheostatics have been racking up critical acclaim and rocking stages since 1980.
Also on the docket are John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans) & the Winter Wheat, Montréal ska band The Planet Smashers, Canadian rock supergroup TUNS (consisting of Chris Murphy of Sloan, Mike O'Neill of The Inbreds, and Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz), Julie & The Wrong Guys (featuring the Juno-winning Julie Doiron), the much buzzed-about genre-defying band Partner, and the energetic French-language rock act I.D.A.L.G.
Canada’s polka king, the festive, Grammy-winning Walter Ostanek is also slated for his return to the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds’ main stage.
Returning this year is the raucous Black Forest stage, which features several high-energy punk bands, a skate ramp (courtesy of Ottawa’s Birling skateshop), and hip-hop. Both nights will close out with a legendary dance party with DJ Law.
The two-day event features 17 of Beau’s own beers – the most ever on offer – as well as 50+ guest taps in the Craft Haus; plus several bars set up throughout the 13.38-acre festival grounds. Gluten-free beer and craft cider are also available. Twenty-eight booths from fine restaurants across Ontario and Québec will be on hand to serve up a vast selection of creative Bavarian-inspired cuisine.
Round trip bus transportation is available from Montréal, Ottawa, and Cornwall, and guests may also choose to upgrade to coach buses for an additional fee. Expanded camping space is also on offer. Camping space is limited and must be pre-registered.
Also returning is the School of Bock, a series of seminars exploring the world of craft beer with guest speakers and brewers. Onsite activities include malt sack races, sausage eating contests, partner-carrying, the famous keg toss and stein hold struggle. Some new programming is also slated for the 2017 edition, and returning fan-favourites include the Beau’s-themed midway.
As Oktoberfest is Beau’s signature fundraising event, the total dollars raised since its inception has topped the half-a-million dollar mark. This year’s charitable fundraising target is $75,000. Registration for the United Way Charity Bike Ride to Beau’s Oktoberfest is now open. Riders receive a custom Beau’s cycling jersey and free bus transportation back to their departure location (Ottawa, Bourget or Cornwall), with additional perks awarded to top fundraisers.
Earlybird savings on Oktoberfest tickets are in effect now through June 18: $29 for a single-day pass, or $39 for both Friday and Saturday. After Father’s Day, regular admission price will be $32 for single-day, or $45 for 2-day. Tickets includes a voucher for your first beer or other beverage, and the first 2,000 people through the gate each day will receive a souvenir alpine hat.
Kinderfest passes (13 and under, Saturday only) are $5. Single-day tickets, 2-day passes and all add-ons and registrations can be accessed at the Beau’s Oktoberfest website as of 11 am June 5: beausoktoberfest.ca. The helpful Beau’s Oktoberfest smartphone app is also making its return.
As in previous years, Saturday tickets are expected to sell out, so would-be festival-goers are encouraged to buy early to avoid disappointment. Beau’s Oktoberfest proudly independent, and is organized and delivered by the employee-owned brewery’s staff and its volunteers. If you’re interested in becoming a “volunbeer”, please visit beausoktoberfest.ca/volunbeer/.