Consider our collective jaws dropped. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.’s annual signature fundraising event, Vankleek Hill Oktoberfest, set a new fundraising record this past weekend (October 3 and 4), accomplishing $95,000 raised for its community and charity. And despite rain on Saturday, the event was also the largest it has ever been, with more than 19,000 festival-goers in attendance over the two days.
The money raised at Oktoberfest will benefit a total of 15 local and national organizations and charities, funding their work for the years to come. The 2014 signature charities chosen are Ottawa Riverkeeper and the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Each signature charity receives $15,000 from beer sales, as does the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society. The Kidney Foundation helps Canadians suffering from kidney failure and related disorders.
“Beau’s Oktoberfest funding for the Kidney Foundation of Canada helps kidney disease patients in financial need with the costs of their treatments,” explained Bruce Hill, Senior Development Manager of the Eastern Ontario Chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Ottawa Riverkeeper is a grassroots charity formed to protect, promote and improve the health and future of the Ottawa River and its tributaries. “The support from Beau’s will allow Ottawa Riverkeeper to continue our work to safeguard the Ottawa River and its tributaries,” said Riverkeeper and Executive Director Meredith Brown. “$15,000 from Beau’s will empower 15 Riverwatchers who will donate $37,000 worth of time, and miraculously turn this into a donation worth $52,000!”
The Ottawa United Way charity bike ride from Ottawa to Vankleek Hill raised just over $20,000 in support of their Social Rec Connect Program, which helps children and youth overcome barriers that keep them from participating in social recreation activities. One hundred and twenty riders participated in the event, whose top fundraiser, Jeff deValk, raised $2,635 on his own. The bike ride was made possible with help from Kunstadt Sports, organizer Karine Langley, and volunteers from United Way Ottawa.
Other charities and organizations that will benefit from this year’s funds are Unshaven Mavens (in support of Rethink Breast Cancer), Hidden Harvest, Just Food, 1SquareFoot, 100% Actifs, Make-a-Wish Foundation, The Royal Canadian Legion and the Vankleek Hill Firefighters. Friday’s headlining musician Joel Plaskett also earmarked $5,000 to flow to the Canadian Council for Refugees as a contribution to the festival’s fundraising. The $95,000 raised this year brings the six-year fundraising total to $337,000.
The Members of Barleyment and Beau’s Homebrew Competition received more than double last year’s entries (407) from 145 individuals across Canada. The team of Michel Lecavalier and JP Fournier (who are part of the Members of Barleyment club from Ottawa) was the winner of the Judge’s Best of Show with an English barleywine called “Tattooed Barley,” and has won the grand prize of brewing a full-sized batch of beer at Beau’s. The People’s Choice winner was Justin DeMerchant with his “Canadian Loyalist ESB.”
As in previous years, Beau’s set up a dishwashing station onsite to reduce the amount of waste cutlery and flatware by an estimated 40,000 pieces. Beau’s was able to further reduce the environmental impact of the Vankleek Hill Oktoberfest this year by securing grid-sourced electrical power for the event from Bullfrog Power, a green energy supplier. Beau’s gratefully acknowledges the support of Oktoberfest sponsors Champlain Township, Desjardins, The Printing House, and Theoret Martel Proudfoot Insurance Brokers Ltd.
Vankleek Hill Oktoberfest 2014 — By the Numbers
Funds raised: $95,000
2014 attendance: 19,288
Kegs of beer onsite: 710
Portions of food prepared: 45,000
Beers entered in Homebrew Competition: 407
Number of festival volunteers: 510
Total artists/performers: 109
Keg-toss event participants: 300
Dollars spent on local suppliers and services to stage the festival: $350,000
Number of dishes washed to reduce waste: 40,000
Sunday Brewers’ Brunches served: 199
Impressed CBB staffers: All 5