Community

Thousands experience Beaumont’s Oktoberfest return

Several thousand people came out to experience the return of Beaumont’s Oktoberfest on Saturday.

Residents walked from neighborhoods nearby and visitors came in from across Texas for the sixth year to enjoy the German-themed experience at Roger’s Park at 1455 Dowlen Rd. The free annual event was canceled last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We have beautiful weather, great food, great music and everybody is just having a wonderful time,” said Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz, who was spotted wearing Lederhosen as a Polka band performed behind him. “I am so happy that we were able to re-establish this celebration this year.”

Nearly an hour into the event, the Beaumont’s Director of Event Services, Emily Wheeler, estimated the event would see at least 5,000 people throughout the day.

“We have had an unbelievable turnout,” she said. “It’s still early and it has been a huge crowd. … We are really pleased by the turnout.”

Advertisements

Getz said the event helps both economically and promotes the city overall because of the attendance it draws from residents and visitors. Mark Bowles, 58, traveled from Fredericksburg for the event.

“I love it. I live in Fredericksburg, and I missed the Oktoberfest event there two weeks ago because I was out of town. So, I thought I would just come here, and it is awesome. It’s perfect weather. I was hoping there would be more people dressed up like a jackass like me,” Bowles said while dressed in Lederhosen and holding a beer stein.

Attendees set out lawn chairs and set their eyes and ears on two stages for polka performances by The Royal Klobasneks as well as live music from Jesse Dayton, Paul Childers and Pop Gun. Some attendees even had a chance to watch the Astro’s baseball game on an outdoor screen.

Houston resident Michelle Falgout, 26, who is originally from Beaumont, drove over an hour to return home for the event.

“I have been here for the past few years. It is always a lot of fun, seeing a lot of people from my hometown and my family — and of course, watching the Astros even though they are losing,” Falgout said. “I am really upset. They just hit another Grand Slam. But it’s awesome. Lots of food, lots of people, so it’s great.”

There were about 10 vendors and food trucks, a beer garden offering a selection of craft and German Oktoberfest style beers, a kids area, and more. Oktoberfest is sponsored by the City of Beaumont, Exxon Mobil, Classic Southeast Texas, Del Papa Distributing and Giglio Distributing.

Jeff Wheeler, with Del Papa Distributing, said the company prepared to serve about 13,000 pints of beer. Combined with the event’s other distributor, he estimated Oktoberfest would serve up to 30,000 pints.

“There are two things that can go with you or against you, it’s weather and we are at the very end of Oktoberfest season,” Jeff Wheeler said. “We have to forecast ahead of time for all of our products, so we are bringing literally every bit of Oktoberfest that we have from the warehouse out.”

Advertisements

Children also had a chance to experience the family-friendly event, including three who hopped on hay bales with pumpkins.

“It looks like they are having fun so far,” said Beaumont resident Kim Martinez. People also had a chance to enjoy the mobile Lovebug photobooth among other activities, Emily Wheeler said.

“I think people are really happy to be out on this beautiful day, and they seem like they are having a great time,” she said. “So far, so good.”

Getz said in the past, he noticed other events were being held in the summer and the heat was discouraging attendance. This was a factor in the decision to host a fall event like Oktoberfest. He said he was involved in starting the event in 2016, which saw about 3,000 attendees.

“It was a smash success, and it has grown every year since then,” Getz said. “We didn’t have it last year because of COVID, but everybody is vaccinated this year and they were ready to go.”

Written by Meagan Ellsworth

Categories: Community, Entertainment

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s