That’s a wrap: Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017

This year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest was one for the record books.

Our annual signature charitable fundraising event brought in $100,205 for local charities and community groups, smashing the $75,000 target!

More than 20,000 people descended upon our small Eastern Ontario town of Vankleek Hill (pop. 1,789) this past weekend for one day and two nights of craft beer, Bavarian-inspired cuisine, live Canadian music, and so much more.

But it wasn’t only the awesome charitable element, massive head-count and beer lineup that smashed records. It was the heat.

Saturday’s peak temperature was 36° with humidity – and it was sunny! This is unheard of for a festival traditionally associated with autumn weather.

After a summer festival season that was decidedly wet and dreary throughout Ontario and Québec, for many people between Ottawa and Montréal, this year’s early-fall rarity of a scorcher was a welcomed change. And the numbers reflect it: Beau’s Oktoberfest guests consumed 3,780 litres of local spring water and even more municipal water from the many stations throughout the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds, where the annual event was held.

Here’s a wrap-up of the little party we threw for 20,000 of our closest friends Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23 in Vankleek Hill.


The beer.

With the help of our incredible volunbeers, we poured 31,570 litres of beer (and cider).

We had 17 Beau’s beers available for our guests to try, including several one-off creations exclusive to the festival. For the full list of Beau’s beers, check ’em out here. (You may re-live the experience, or subject yourself to extreme FOMO. It all depends on where you were this past weekend.)

We also welcomed more than 50 guest breweries in the #CraftHaus section of the festival. As is festival tradition, these beers sold out. Here’s the lineup that we had on offer. (Same disclaimer as previous.)


The music.

Quality live music is essential to any outdoor festival. At Beau’s, we like to keep it Canadian. The main stage featured Montréal’s Stars headlining Friday night, and indie rock icons Rheostatics (pictured above, Dave Bidini) capping things off Saturday night.

Highlights from the musical elements of Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017 include hundreds of attendees dancing to The Planet Smashers as they brought their upbeat ska/punk sounds to the main stage; and TUNS’ Chris Murphy (also of Sloan fame) singing impromptu karaoke with Ottawa legend Remi Royale, which leads to item #3…


Black Forest.

Black Forest is essentially a second sound stage. But over the years it has developed into something much greater. This year’s Black Forest music featured mostly punk rock (as is custom) and some hip-hop. Plus Remi Royale brought his signature hilarious lounge act to the hosting responsibilities.

Ottawa’s Birling skateboard shop set up a quarter pipe, and brought local artists Julian Garner (Five Cents tattoo shop) and Ryan Smeeton along to paint some great murals. Ottawa’s House of TARG was there to raise funds for For Pivots Sake, which engages and mentors Ottawa-based youth with activities like skateboarding. Barnstormer Tattoo were there also raising funds with their Beau’s-inspired temporary tattoos. Vans Canada and Stomp Records also helped out.

Each night at Black Forest was closed with a dance party courtesy of DJ Law.


The food.

Bavarian-inspired cuisine from 29 of the area’s finest restaurants was available along restaurant row. Local chefs and their teams brought their A-game, with countless culinary creations. Check out the full lineup and prepare yourself for next year.


The fun.

The activities portion of the festival always draws crowds. These feats of strength are often awe-inspiring. The keg toss displays strength and accuracy; the partner carrying race is a blast; the stein holding competition is always filled with surprises.

We brought in a Ferris wheel this year. The School of Bock series was educational and fun. The homebrew competition, with help from Ottawa’s Members of Barleyment brought 477 exceptional homebrews to the festival, with a winner who will join Beau’s for a pro-am creation in time for next year’s festivities. The midway and Kinderfest offered traditional festival fun for the whole family.


The opening ceremony included a tractor parade and the Beauchesne family welcoming guests to the festival. There was a ceremonial cask tapping, featuring MP Francis Drouin and MPP Grant Crack on Friday, and Olympic runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and world class beer-miler Lewis Kent on Saturday.

As Steve and the gang passed out the first beers of the festival, Canada’s Polka King Walter Ostanek played all of the Oktoberfest favourites.

Benefiting charities include The United Way’s “All That Kids Can Be” initiative, The Hawkesbury and District General Hospital Foundation, The Vankleek Hill Agriculture Society, Hidden Harvest Ottawa, Ottawa Riverkeeper, For Pivot’s Sake, 100% Actifs, and The Grant Howes Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well as numerous local service clubs and community groups.

As always, the buses to and from Ottawa, Montréal and Cornwall brought thousands of happy festival-goers home safely.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of our hard working and enthusiastic volunbeers, who helped keep our festival green and sustainable, and kept our guests happy. We also couldn’t have done it without our awesome staff, partners and vendors. Beau’s Oktoberfest is a team effort, and we have a great team. Prost!

If you were one of the 20,515 attendees of Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017, we’d like to thank you for your contribution to this awesome time. And if you weren’t, we sure hope you’ll join us for our 10th edition in 2018 – or check out a party near you!

Oktoberfest is wunderbar!


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