Oktoberfest is the largest “People’s Festival” on the planet. The festival was originally created to celebrate the marriage of Germany’s King Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, in Munich more than two centuries ago. All citizens were invited to celebrate with the royal family on the fields in front of the city gates.
There was a parade, music & dancing, horse races, wine and beer tasting, bowling, games, and of course, mouth-watering food. Outside of good excuses – battling with Napoleon’s troops, a Cholera epidemic, and a few wars – the festival would take place each year with various activities being added or removed.
The two-week long festival would continue to grow in popularity and any non-German nationals that were fortunate enough to be in the country during the festival would, of course, partake in the celebration. Clearly, this left an indelible impression – one powerful enough to adopt the idea for the nations that these folks returned to.
Today, Oktoberfest is celebrated in scores of countries – complete with the Polka music, bratwurst, and of course, beer. Since America’s largest ancestral group is German, it should come as no surprise that Oktoberfest took root as a popular excuse to drink, dance and have fun.
On the South Coast, there’s no bigger and better version of Oktoberfest than New Bedford’s own, NBOktoberfest. Organized by the South Coast Business Alliance, the festival is now on its 12th year and has become one of the city’s most popular annual events.
What makes New bedford Oktoberfest an even more special one, is that the South Coast Business Alliance also pairs each event with charitable organizations by donating part of its proceeds – well over $500,000 since its inception. They have focused their efforts on at-risk youth programming and various other organizations around the South Coast. Most recently they started the SCBA UMass-Dartmouth Scholarship Fund which provides a scholarship to one graduating senior with demonstrated financial need.
Additionally, they donate to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County, supported organizations like Star Kids, the Zeiterion Theater, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater New Bedford, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and many more. Several of their members have also received the South Coast Emerging 5 Award awarded each year to five recipients under 40 for their contributions and support within the community, including the President Jason Almeida, Vice President Amy Winn-Blier, Treasurer Christopher Moniz, Chair Kevin Trahan and Secretary Deborah Soares.
So, simply by attending the event you not only have a complete, total blast, but you can feel good that you contributed to a local charity, and benefited the community in some way. Wunderbar!
Die Kost (FOOD!)
One of life’s most hedonistic treats is to walk about a festival and enjoy all the wonderful aromas emanating from food being prepared. The wafting smells of various types of fare are a complete assault on the nose….and what fun it is to navigate from food truck, to stand, to tent. Eat, dance, relax and even people watch.
Want to know what to expect? Read on, mein guter Kumpel. This year most vendors that you enjoyed in the past, will be returning.FanCheezical Food Truck is a food truck out of Providence that serves grilled cheese sandwiches and sides. There’s the Old Skool “like mom used to make,” a BBQ 2.0: house smoked pulled pork w/ homemade BBQ sauce and cheddar cheese, the #19: Prosciutto, arugula and apricot spread w/ cheddar cheese, the Bay of Pigs: bacon, ham, pulled pork, cheddar cheese and special Cuban sauce and others. Sides include homemade tomato bisque, corn in a cup with Cojito cheese and cilantro, Aurora’s Salad which contains watermelon, tomatoes, basil and feta and a few others.
Everyone loves the Two Sisters Food Truck and they will be making their first appearance at this year’s event. Your favorite Portuguese favorites will be served with love and passion from Caitlyn, Courtney and crew – mouth watering Cacoila, Shrimp Mozambique, Bifana sandwiches and platters, Kale soup, linguiça, fries, rice, and more including Sumol to wash it down.
The Bearded Chicken Food Truck will be offering its eclectic menu of various chicken recipes with a variety of sauces and rubs. There are flavors like the Portuguese Buffalo, Flying Hawaiian, Sriracha-Doodle-Do, Garlic Fever, the Sticky general (General Tso’s), Bearded Jerk, Macon Baple, The Reaper (yes, with Carolina Reapers), and many, many more with sides, desserts, etc. A full menu can be read here.
With all this savory food, you’ll want some pastries and java and relatively new to New Bedford is The Baker on Pleasant Street making incredibly delicious pastries, muffins, bagels, pretzels, doughnuts, and more from scratch along with your favorite coffees, espressos, lattes and teas. They also make all the classic deli sandwiches like roast beef, turkey, BLT, veggie, and tomato and mozzarella.
Finally, there is no such thing as an ice cream season. We can have ice cream in fall and even in winter if we want – no one can stop us! We don’t need anyone talking negative like that in our life. Cool Licks Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt will be serving dozens of traditional and not so traditional flavors of soft and hard ice cream as well as frozen yogurt, frozen slushes and shakes. Peach, German Chocolate, Blueberry Cheesecake, Bubble Gum, Pina Colada, Run Raisin, and on and on and on.
Doesn’t that sound schmecklich? Doch!
Providing the vibe and atmosphere will be some of the best local musical acts. New Bedford’s own, The Pourmen will showcase their Celtic-Folk-Acoustic Punk talents. Following them will be the everyone’s favorite, “Whiskey Poet” Craig DeMelo & Friends and finally the headliners, Boston based Jon Bon Jovi cover band Living On A Bad Name. Middlehouse Systems has generously provided the sound system to make it all possible.
No Oktoberfest, anywhere on the planet, is complete without beer. There will be over 50 beers present this year and 35 of them will be regional, including Buzzards Bay Brewery, Sam Ofest, Angry Orchard, Downeast Cranberry, Traveler Jack-O Pumpkin Shandy, Cisco Pumple Drumkin, Cisco Sankaty Light, Troegs Hopknife, Weihenstephaner Festbier, Von Trapp Ofest, Mayflower, Narragansett, Troeg’s, Brooklyn, FoolProof and many more. This is double the variety of beers that last year had, and this year gluten free beer, ciders and sangria have been added to the menu. Chances are your favorite will be there and the only difficulty will be which beer to pair with your pizza, hot dog, hamburger or Wurst Ques.” The first-world struggle is real!
The State Pier is an ideal spot for Oktoberfest. The time of year is perfect for mild weather – the sun is still high enough in the sky, the mornings are cool and the days are warm, but not hot. There is never an issue with rain, since most of what happens at Oktoberfest takes place indoors. Regardless there will be a massive tent provided by Chase Canopy set up on the working waterfront. There will be a Corn Hole game for those who wish for a little extra-curricular activity. If you are looking for a fun day out with the pals or gals, or perhaps just that special someone, this October 14th will be the day to set aside – mark those calendars because it is an event you won’t want to miss out on!
In addition, Beer Sampler tickets will be available for $15 advance tickets/$20 at door. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the event, you can do so at eventbrite.com/e/scbas-12th-annual-oktoberfest-tickets-37707270461. So, grab your Krug (or as the Dummköpfen say “Steins”) and let out a cry of “Zum Pröst!!”
When: Saturday, Oktober 14, 2017 from 3:00pm-11:45pm
Where: State Pier Ferry Terminal/49 State Pier