(Accokeek, MD) On October 8th from 1-6pm the Alice Ferguson Foundation will open its doors for the 31st Oktoberfest at Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center. This festival brings the community together to celebrate the changing season on the Foundation’s beautiful 330-acre farm on the Potomac shoreline. The annual event, which benefits environmental education programs that reach schoolchildren throughout the Potomac Watershed, is one of the farm’s most popular annual activities. This year’s festival will feature traditional Alpine music and dance, homemade German cuisine, old-fashioned hay wagon rides, a silent auction, door prizes, and visits with the barnyard animals.
“Our Oktoberfest allows people of all ages to take time out of their busy lives, breath in some crisp fall air and scenery, and enjoy the many attractions this festival has to offer,” explained Alice Ferguson Foundation Executive Director Lori Arguelles. “This one-day event sows seeds of success throughout the year thanks to the proceeds that are raised, which allow us to provide hands-on, experiential learning to thousands of students every year.”
In keeping with the Foundation’s environmental stewardship mission, Oktoberfest will be trash-free, meaning none of the traditional Oktoberfest cuisine will be served on Styrofoam or plastic and all items will be recyclable or compostable. The Alice Ferguson Foundation understands the importance of reducing the amount of waste headed for landfills. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, German potato salad, and homemade apple strudel are all perennial favorites that will be on the trash-free menu. Spaten Beer will be on tap and freshly pressed cider will be available to drink.
“I helped to start this event when the Alice Ferguson Foundation was looking for a way to introduce the community to the Foundation’s programs” reminisced Accokeek resident Stafford Allison, who helped initiate Oktoberfest 31 years ago. “The event started out small, with food and dancers and then went on to expand to incorporate all of the current attractions. It has become a galvanizing event for the community, bringing people together from the surrounding area to celebrate the season and each other; it is so central that people stop me to ask about the each year’s festival to make sure that it is happening again.”
The renowned and much-beloved song and dance group Alt Washingtonia Schuhplattler, will be preforming throughout the day. The group is known for their ability to draw in a crowd by sharing Alpine folklore and humor, as well as the ability to have spectators on their feet dancing and singing along to traditional songs of Bavaria and Austria. While the festivities are going on, an old-fashioned hay ride will take trips to bring visitors down the shoreline of the Potomac. The Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center’s barnyard will also be open, allowing visitors to enjoy the many different animals the farm has to offer. “Here at the farm, you will rarely hear ‘Look but don’t touch.’ We encourage visitors to not only see all the natural world surrounding has to offer them, but to learn from all of their senses. Oktoberfest will be no different,” said Arguelles.
Tickets to this event will be sold at the entrance for $10 per person with free admission for children ages 7 and under. Once admitted, attendees will be invited to participate in an auction featuring the works of local artists, tickets to local sports events, fine dining experiences and other coveted prizes from the community. All proceeds from the auction and the other Oktoberfest at Hard Bargain Farm events benefit the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s environmental education programs.