Beau’s will hold a remote Oktoberfest on Thursday, October 15, giving beer lovers the chance to tune in with socially distanced steins. Instead of the usual event at Vankleek Hill showgrounds, the brewery will stream the celebration over YouTube with bands, a stein hold and celebrity drop-in. Braids, Crown Lands and Goodbye Honolulu will perform through the stream, while beer and sausage pairing classes will help viewers recreate the experience at home.
The charity bike ride that had helped the local brewery raise about $100,000 in previous years for United Way also went virtual this year. While cyclists would usually ride together to Vankleek Hill during the event, participants were able to register online this year, then cycle anywhere, at any time between June 16 and October 15.
Beau’s Steve Beauchesne said staff had tried to recreate what they could of the festival around the social distancing restrictions. He hoped the event would give regular festival goers at least a taste of Oktoberfest.
“Obviously, there was no safe way to put on a festival with 20,000 people, so we had to abandon what we would normally do,” he said. “We’re shortening it a lot, it’ll be a 45-minute program, but we’re hoping it’ll allow people to still feel like a got a little bit of Oktoberfest this year.”
To help people get in the spirit, Beau’s released 250 Oktoberfest in a Box kits with six cans of beer, an alpine hat, stein, and poster. All of the boxes sold out in less than 48 hours.
Even without the boxes, though, Beauchesne said there were other ways to celebrate while watching the stream. The brewery re-released its popular Night Märzen to mark the day.
“Get yourself a good handled mug, get yourself a couple of other beers,” he said. “All of the pieces that make up Oktoberfest – fun activities, great music from Canadian artists, great food, great beer – will be there.”
The Virtual Oktoberfest broadcast will begin on October 15 at 7:00 p.m. and will be available free on Beau’s YouTube channel.