INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — With the calendar creeping closer to October, that means one thing in Indian Rocks Beach — the city’s annual Oktoberfest, hosted by local nonprofit IRB Action 2000, is right around the corner.
This year’s tribute to beer, brats and all things Bavaria is set for Saturday, Oct. 8, from noon to 6 p.m. at Kolb Park, and will again feature all the fan favorites, including the beer stein race and keg toss as well as traditional German food, dancing and live entertainment.
According to IRB A2K President Diane Flagg, orgainizers are in the final stages of preparation for Oktoberfest, which this year will be held outside, but not inside, the Beach Art Center.
“We decided to remove the silent auction that had been held inside the center,” Flagg said, noting the section was difficult to coordinate and staff. “But we will still hold an auction for (Plein Aire Cottage Artist) Helen Tilston’s painting, and there will be plenty of food and drink and entertainment to keep people entertained all day.”
Flagg said the Oktoberfest committee was able to secure more vendors and sponsors this year now that COVID restrictions are behind them, and she expects a large turnout for the latest edition of IRB’s most popular annual event. “We’re very excited to have a great turnout this year, and I want to thank all our wonderful sponsors and the city for their support,” she said while noting Tampa Bay Newspapers is one of the primary sponsors.
Flagg said one way the organization funds the festival is through sales of the Plein Aire Cottage Artists annual calendar, a collaboration of four local artists that started more than 20 years ago and is designed to help preserve IRB’s many historic cottages.
“All the proceeds go straight to A2K, because they have the same mission as we do—to save the cottages,” Mary Rose Holmes, the local member of the trio that includes Tilston and Violetta Chandler, said.
Holmes said sales of the 2023 calendar are set to start Sept. 26 and can be purchased through the IRB A2K website as well as at the IRB Historical Museum and at Oktoberfest, and she noted the colorful, collectible calendars have become hot commodities on and off the island over the past several years.”
“We’re still getting requests for the last calendar, and we really don’t have any more,” Holmes said from her beachfront studio. “I have to tell them I’ve already moved on to the next year.”
For more information on IRB Action 2000 and the upcoming Oktoberfest, visit irbaction2000.com.