The following is from our Downtown column published monthly in EU Jacksonville.
Kicking off Jacksonville’s Oktoberfest scene, First Wednesday Art Walk will put a little polka in your step and beauty in your brain with Oktoberfest at Art Walk.
Join Downtown Vision as you grab your liebling (darling), dust off your dirndl (for the ladies) or lederhosen (for the gents), grab your most ornate beer stein or bierkrug, and head Downtown with 15,000 of your closest friends on Wednesday, October 1.
From 5-10 p.m., this arts and culture celebration lights up Downtown. Hundreds of area artists display at more than fifty venues, including ten permanent arts venues and galleries. Plus, on Art Walk night, enjoy free admission to MOCA Jacksonville and free, hourly backstage tours at the Florida Theatre.
Returning for a second year, Hemming Park and Laura Street will be transformed into one large art-festival-meets-biergarden block party. Oom-pah-pah band Dan Witucki and Mein Heimatland Musikanten will set the stage providing live entertainment for a night of dancing in the streets.
The illustrious Kerry Speckman will emcee the evening’s tapping of the keg and contests, including beer stein holding for the strong, yodeling for the brave, and best costume for the creative among us. The night will also feature wiener races. Not wiener dogs, mind you, rather adults in hot dog costumes vying for the chance to be crowned the fastest wiener west of Germany.
While beer will abound (and I’ll get to that in a moment) this is an event for all ages. The Kinder Zone at Hemming Park will bring out artists in your little ones with pumpkin painting patches and the State Farm craft zone. At the Hemming Park biergarten, purchase pints of the season from Oktoberfests to German brews to local craft favorites. A portion of beer proceeds will benefit Downtown Vision Alliance, the charitable arm of Downtown Jacksonville. Bring your own beer stein (pint-sized or smaller), and we’ll fill it for you instead of a plain old plastic cup. Then, pair your brew with delicious German-inspired fare from local food vendors. Alternatively, pick up an Art Walk map to see which of Art Walk’s 15 dining and 10 nightlife stops offer German or Oktoberfest beers.
Oktoberfest in the urban core doesn’t stop there! Head over to MPA 2014 Oktoberfest at Memorial Park, October 3-4, for more seasonal celebrations featuring the Swinging Bavarians (tickets available at memparkjax.org). Then, return Downtown for Jaxtoberfest at the Shipyards, October 10-11, which will feature a number of live music acts and family-friendly Oktoberfest games including wiener races – this time with wiener dogs (tickets available at jaxtoberfest.com).