South Shore Breaker
Inaugural South Shore Oktoberfest set for Oct. 22
A time-honoured German tradition is coming to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay this October.
The two communities will be hosting the first annual South Shore Oktoberfest this year.
“The South Shore in general, but Lunenburg in particular, actually has a very strong link to German culture and has a German heritage,” says Renea Babineau, executive director of the Lunenburg Board of Trade, one of the organizations that partnered together to make Oktoberfest possible.
Specifically, Babineau says Lunenburg's German connections date back the 1750s.
“They got here intending to be farmers and discovered that the land really wasn't good for the type of farming that they were familiar with,” she says. “They had to kind of pivot and turn to other avenues of making a living, which is kind of how we got started with the fishing industry, which, of course, is also an important piece of our heritage.”
While beer is a key focus of the event, given that it is Oktoberfest, it's not the only draw for visitors.
“It was very important to us that this not just be a beer-related event, although, of course, there will be a fair bit of that,” says Babineau noting that the beer-related events include a beer garden which will also feature a Matt Minglewood concert.
Other events will focus on other “cultural, historical pieces” says Babineau.
They include a variety of foods, polka demonstrations, German music, a genealogist who can help visitors trace their German roots and a heritage display at the Mahone Bay museum.
“We'll also have a little kids' zone where they can do some crafts and activities,” says Babineau. “And we'll do an Oktoberfest tradition where you decorate these little gingerbread hearts and put them on a string and wear them around your neck.”
As the event is being held between two towns and it involves alcohol, there will be a shuttle service for those who need it for either safe transportation or mobility reasons.
And despite this being the first South Shore Oktoberfest, Babineau says there are already plans to expand it to other areas.
“The eventual aim for this is to actually have it extend further down (the) South Shore and involve more organizations and more towns,” she says.
“What we're really looking to do is to create something in the shoulder season that can really, like, bring a lot of people together because the weather in October nowadays is still quite lovely. So, I think it's kind of a shame that often there's nothing really much going on.”
South Shore Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday,
Oct. 22, with all proceeds going to local charities. For more information, visit southshoreoktoberfest.com/