Beau’s Oktoberfest will be celebrating it’s 9th year this coming September 22nd and 23rd. The autumn celebration has become a landmark event. Fans of beer and good atmosphere tend to make this an annual sojourn to Vankleek Hill. Last year saw 20,000 revellers attend the two-day party at the Fairgrounds and the festival raised $85,000 plus for local charitable partners.
One of those partners, Hidden Harvest, has been participating in the Oktoberfest celebrations for five years by running and building the Midway. The genesis of the games, hand-made by volunteers, began with a simple dream, a strange dream, but a simple one. They wanted to create a giant game of friend vs friend Plinko. Mission accomplished and exceeded with the creation of the fan-favourite Bumpercrop. The Midway has now grown to include games for the whole family: Bottlecap Slapshot, Beer Castle Ringtoss, Roll in Ze Hay, Beercase Cliffhanger (author’s note: so difficult!) & Three Wheel Drive.
Rumour has it a new game will be revealed this year. This new game will involve a keg and potentially rope.
Hidden Harvest is a pretty amazing organization. Co-founder Katrina Siks, nailed the tagline “Hidden Harvest rescues sad fruit, and gives it to happy people.”
Back in 2012, none of the City of Ottawa’s food-bearing trees were being harvested: what a waste! The organization was set up to right that wrong. Hidden Harvest now picks the fruits and nuts of public and privately-owned trees. They share the spoils between the nearest food agency, the tree property owner, the volunteer harvesters, and a portion back to Hidden Harvest Ottawa to be provided to local restaurants and chefs.
“Hidden Harvest couldn’t exist without the Midway at Beau’s Oktoberfest.”
That a socially focused group like Hidden Harvest would be a fit to work with a corporate citizen like Beau’s is no surprise. It’s a perfect match. “We are lucky to have several long-standing relationships developed for Beau’s Oktoberfest with partners including Hidden Harvest, who run the midway and fun carnival games with their own personal flair and energy,” says Steve Beauchesne, Beau’s Co-founder. “This goes hand in hand with reaching our overall fundraising goals. There are so many little “Easter Eggs” to discover within the festival, and people love it.”
Of course the Midway is more than just a good time, it’s also a major fundraiser for the Hidden Harvest organization. “Last year’s $12k from the midway funded all of Hidden Harvest’s core operations including equipment and insurance, making it possible to pick and share more than 8,000 pounds of fruit and nuts that would otherwise have gone to waste! ” says Siks.
“Last year’s $12k from the midway funded all of Hidden Harvest’s core operations.”
Every dollar from the Midway goes towards a good cause and the prizes are enticing: Beau’s swag and goodies from Little Joe Berry’s, Brew Donkey, Clover Food & Drink, BossArts Salon and Spa, Elevate Yoga, Pure Kitchen, WheelHouse Cycle plus the infamous animal masks.
With so much going on at Oktoberfest: food, music, beer, feats of strength, and more, you could almost miss the Midway. But you shouldn’t.
See you at the Bumpercrop board!
Beau’s Oktoberfest takes place September 22 and 23 at the Vankleek Hill Fairground. Tickets, including optional bus transfers, are available online. For more about Hidden Harvest, including how you can register your tree for harvesting, visit their website.