For the city of Vienna, Oktoberfest is a community group effort


Kids have fun with hoops at Vienna Oktoberfest 2019 (courtesy Vienna Business Association)

After a year off, Oktoberfest will return to the city of Vienna tomorrow (Saturday), bringing with it a beer and wine garden, live entertainment, and a slightly reduced assortment of food, craft and vending vendors at the detail.

Now in its 13th edition, the festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at its usual site between Maple Avenue and Ayr Hill Road, with the beer garden and main tents set up in the parking lot next to the Red Caboose.

The Vienna Oktoberfest is organized by the Vienna Business Association, which is the chamber of commerce’s main annual fundraiser, but it also relies on the support of dozens of local community groups, said VBA Executive Director Peggy James .

“We are very grateful for the huge turnout we have received from our local Vienna nonprofits for their volunteer support and support for festival sponsors this year,” said James. “As always, our goal is to provide a safe and fabulous festival that welcomes people of all ages. The tremendous support we have received this year will ensure that happens. “

Many groups, such as the Rotary Club of Vienna, the local Shepherd’s Center, the Stroke Comeback Center, and even the team at James Madison High School, have volunteer members at the festival. Others participate through sponsorships, the cost of which ranges from $ 200 to $ 5,000 for the platinum title.

This year’s food court sponsor is One Neighborhood Foundation, the nonprofit that Vienna VA Foodies co-founder Lydia Russo established at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help local restaurants. delivering meals to first responders and food insecure residents.

Russo says the foundation “is very happy” to be a part of the Vienna Oktoberfest for the first time after providing “thousands and thousands” of meals over the past 18 months or so through its own efforts and by organizing fundraisers for other nonprofits.

The group raised $ 20,000 in a single day in June 2020 when they turned to the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group to support Martha’s Table, a Washington-based nonprofit dedicated to improving food. access to healthy food, education and other resources for families.

Even after all of this hard work, Oktoberfest will represent the first opportunity to meet in person for many of the community members who have become involved with One Neighborhood Foundation.

“We plan to take advantage of the lovely atmosphere, while also equipping our tent which will raise funds for future food deliveries,” Russo said via email.

Tackling food insecurity is also the primary focus of Rustic Love Vienna, which will occupy the Vienna Oktoberfest beer tent on Mill Street and sell its iconic heart signs and other merchandise from its own tent on Dominion Road.

Still run by volunteers, the group grew out of the idea of ​​eight local children who invented heart signs as a way to support the philanthropic efforts of Vienna VA Foodies.

“Our only mission is to raise funds to help food insecure people in our region,” said Rustic Love Vienna Executive Director Michelle Davila. “Food insecurity is always closer than you might imagine and it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

While all proceeds from alcohol sales will go to the VBA Foundation, which will use the proceeds to fund future events and grants for nonprofits and community service groups, the Vienna Oktoberfest patrons will be able to contribute directly to Rustic Love Vienna by tipping the mill. Volunteer employees of the street beer tent.

The beer advice will also help Family Preservation and Strengthening Services (PASS), a non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Vienna resident Suzette Steinhardt, which helps families in Fairfax County at risk of end up homeless.

Family PASS has been involved with the Vienna Oktoberfest since the festival began, recruiting around 60 volunteers over the past 12 years to serve beer, according to Patti Cooksey, board member and volunteer coordinator.

Tomorrow, the organization will also be hosting an art booth to sell hundreds of original pieces it received as donations from Oakton resident and artist Pat Strickler. Family PASS will use all proceeds from art sales to directly support families in its program.

“Helping families in our own backyards benefits everyone in our community,” Cooksey said. “The families we help are very motivated to regain their autonomy. We offer a variety of services and advice to give our families the tools they need to be successful. Please help us help them. “

The arts section of the Vienna Oktoberfest will also feature an activity table for children in a tent made up of artists from the Vienna Society of the Arts, whose members will also be scattered across Church Street, capturing the festival in paintings outside.

“The Vienna Arts Society is fortunate to be part of a city where all organizations work together to support and promote each other,” said Communications President Doré Skidmore.

Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert echoed this sentiment in a statement to Tysons Reporter, calling the city’s many nonprofits “true pillars of the community.”

“With their support, the City is able to offer quality large-scale family events and celebrations like Oktoberfest that bring the community together in such a positive way,” Colbert wrote. “The support of these organizations is also the reason why many local food insecure families and struggling businesses have been able to survive the pandemic, and their commitment and service to our community is truly inspiring.”

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