The nonprofit Matthews Free Medical Clinic is one of three local nonprofits to benefit from ticket sales at this year’s Oktoberfest. And tickets are selling quickly.
Beginning in 1999 Carolina BrewMasters brought Oktoberfest to the Charlotte area and modeled the festival after the 16-day Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Germany. This year’s festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. at 7100 Statesville Road, in Charlotte.
Now, festival organizers urge area residents to buy tickets well in advance because the event has sold out in the past six years.
Organizers of the festival hope to match last year’s donation of $60,000, which was given to Second Harvest Food Bank. This year’s proceeds will be split between the free clinic, Crisis Assistance Ministry and Beds for Kids.
The Matthews Free Medical Clinic plans to use the donation to provide additional services to their diabetic patients.
“The funds will go towards supporting our diabetes education program. That will let us implement extra programs like exercise. We envision it to be a much larger exclusive program,” said Amy Carr, executive director of the clinic.
The Crisis Assistance Ministry and Beds for Kids both plan to use the money to help those in need, but do not plan to add any additional services or programs.
“We’re just excited to be a part of it. It’s a great event with a great reputation,” Daniel Fogarty, the executive director of Beds for Kids, said.
Oktoberfest will be centered on local breweries and those attending the festival will have a chance to sample craft beer made all over the southeast. Toasted Head Wine also will be at the festival providing wine samples.
“The festival was originally created to educate Charlotte residents about the growing number of great beers being brewed in the Southeast and that continues to be one of our goals. The presenters of Charlotte Oktoberfest, the Carolina BrewMasters, are all local homebrewers. As homebrewers, we are truly passionate about beer,” festival volunteer Lisa Johnson said.
In addition to craft beer vendors, three bands will be playing throughout the day – Stella Rising, Alien Radio and Early Ray. On the other side of the festival Creative Loafing will set up their BeerLympic Village where drinking games will take place.
Premium tickets cost $50 and allow ticket holders to enter Oktoberfest one hour early at 1 p.m., general admission costs $35 and designated drivers can attend the festival for $10. Designated drivers are given free food and non-alcoholic drinks in the Designated Drivers Tent and if they come with a premium ticket holder they can enter the festival early as well.
Those attending Oktoberfest must be 21 years old or older. The festival is a rain or shine event and no refunds will be given. No pets, coolers or outside food and drink are allowed.
Only 144 premium tickets and 3,100 tickets are still available. Once all drinking tickets are sold, designated driver tickets will be cut off. Tickets can be purchased online at www.charlotteoktoberfest.com/tickets.
“Once our radio partners on KISS 95.1 FM, The Fan 610 AM and Country WSOC 103.7 start their promotions on Sept. 1, we will sell out very quickly. (Premium) tickets will probably be gone already by then,” Johnson said.