The annual Oktoberfest En Kweyol, staged by Windward and Leeward Brewery Limited was launched here on Tuesday August 28, with a cocktail reception and presentation at the Bay Gardens Hotel.
Oktoberfest En Kweyol which is now into its fifth year is held the first Sunday in October each year and forms part of the first major activity for “Kweyol Heritage Month” here in Saint Lucia. The event, which features “live” performances, Creole Food and a variety of locally brewed as well as imported beer, has grown in crowd attendance drawing a record mammoth crowd last year. In welcoming attendees at the launch Tuesday, Sylvester Henry of WLBL stated: “The original Oktoberfest in Munich is centuries old and though we are a long way off it is still a milestone for us to welcome you to the launch ahead of our fifth hosting of “Oktoberfest En Kweyol.”
“Oktoberfest En Kweyol” is fast becoming the way to herald the start of Creole Heritage Month and of that we are very proud,” Henry added. For his part, Shelley Black, marketing manager of WLBL stated that the choice of hosting the launch at Bay Gardens was not by accident since the hotel will be assisting with housing some of the entertainers being flown in from overseas for the event.
“We have indeed been very successful in the merging of these two amazing cultures, that of beer and Jounen Creole, two things that are close to the hearts of St Lucians,” Black stated Tuesday. “And we at WLBL over the years have carefully nurtured and maintained that beer culture, whereby Oktoberfest En Kweyol will always reflect a very special look and feel every time it is activated. Only the best is good enough for our consumers,” he went on to say.
He went on to reveal that the marketing and public relations plans for the event were far advanced this year. The media campaign has been embraced by media partners The Wave, RCI and DBS and a special feature will be in the publication Tropical Traveller in an effort to lure visitors to the event.
Other partners for the event this year include the FRC who will receive part of the proceeds from gate receipts, The Saint Lucia Tourist Board as well as LIME, Paradise Waters and Landmark Events. Greg Graves, the Managing Director of WLBL delved into a bit of the history of the original Oktoberfest which he stated was first held over 200 years ago in the year 1810 in the city of Munich in Bavaria, Germany.
“Over the following two centuries, the celebration has grown exponentially and has become a world renowned celebration of beer craftsmanship and tradition,” Graves said, adding that while Munich remains the traditional home of Oktoberfest, the event has grown to become a truly global celebration with festivals held in cities and towns around the world. The date for this year’s Oktoberfest is October 7, 2012 which coincides with the final Oktoberfest weekend in Munich. The final bit of advice the MD had for persons wishing to attend this year’s Oktoberfest En Kweyol; “make sure you get there early to have time to sample all the great beers.”
The entertainment line-up for Oktoberfest En Kweyol 2012 includes Bamboolaz and a Carib fusion band out of Martinique. From Saint Lucia, the line-up includes DYP with a special Kweyol set, Mamai LaCaye violin band, Avot Sevis Cultural drumming group, Lightning stars, Harmonites steel orchestra, and an all-star Soca cast. The event will be hosted by Pringles and Ezi Hall. The beers, always the star attraction at Oktoberfest En Kweyol this year will include the staple Oktoberfest Beer Paulaner in the regular cans and kegs, last year’s hit Desperados the only tequila flavoured beer, Murphy’s Irish Red, Heineken Dark, Strong bow gold, Parbo beer from Suriname and Lorraine from Martinique. WLBL’s own portfolio will be there as well and includes Heineken, Piton and Guinness and the annual Brew Masters special which patrons are allowed to sample free upon arrival at Samaans Park. Tickets for this year’s event cost EC$30 and gates will open at 2pm. In the upcoming weeks more information will be provided about the event via the media and the Oktoberfest En Kweyol Facebook page.