By LOIS KINDLE
If you’re into German food, German brew and German music, circle Oct. 6 to 8 on your calendar of things to do. That’s when the Old Castle Restaurant & Beer Barn is hosting its 6th annual Oktoberfest celebration, and the entire community is invited.
The event will take place at 3830 S.R. 674, Ruskin, inside the restaurant and outside in the parking lot at Cypress Village Plaza shopping center. The owners are setting up an 1,800-square-foot tent and umbrella tables to accommodate guests. Last year, 2,000 to 3,000 people attended.
Festivities will include draft beer and wine, food, traditional German music, stein hoisting, dancing, outdoor games and a bounce house for the kids.
“We try to be as authentic as possible,” said Eula Tscheu Stubbins, a German native who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Stuart. “We want everyone to have a truly traditional German experience.”
Thirty to 35 vendors from Jen’s Marketplace will also be on hand from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, selling everything from kettle corn, produce, honey and beef jerky to jewelry, essential oils, body scrubs and resort apparel.
Oktoberfest hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to closing (undetermined) Saturday and Sunday. The Alpine Express will provide traditional Oktoberfest music and activities like yodeling, shoe slapping, line dancing and cowbell playing from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
There will also be a raffle of items donated by Jen’s Market vendors, with all proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets and items going to the Good Samaritan Mission in Wimauma.
“I’ve asked each of my vendors to donate a gift card or item worth $10 or more,” said Jennifer McCafferty, Jen’s Market owner. “And I will be writing a check (to the mission) for 20 percent of the proceeds from my vendor fees.”
The food served outdoors will include sausages, veal loaf or mini-pork shanks, sauerkraut, potato salad, hot pretzels and plum cake. Meals including a meat, carbohydrate and veggie, are $6; beer is $5 for a half liter and $10 for a liter. Souvenir liter steins will be offered for an additional $20. Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, cabernet and sweet red wines will go for $5 per glass.
During the event, a limited menu will be offered inside the restaurant, where diners can order 12 different tap beers, a minikeg or one of more than 20 bottled beers.
Admission is free. Tickets for the raffle, food and beer will be sold at a booth outside the restaurant. Wristbands for three beers will be sold for $15 so folks can avoid standing in line.
The first Oktoberfest was held Oct. 17, 1810, to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. At that time, the celebration included horse racing in front of the royal family.
Over the years since, Oktoberfest has grown
into an annual German holiday and one of the largest festivals in the world. This year, the event took place Sept. 16 to Oct. 3.
In 2016, more than 6 million people from around the world attended.
For more information on the Old Castle Restaurant & Beer Barn’s upcoming Oktoberfest celebration, call 813-633-3331.