Artoberfest to serve up brews, aid local arts

A 200-year old European tradition will unite with Southern hospitality Oct. 1 as the North Central Louisiana Arts Council (NCLAC) offers a special fundraising event. NCLAC has scheduled its first Artoberfest, to be held from 5-9 p.m. in Ruston’s Historic Fire Station, and tickets are now on sale.

“Like the traditional Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, our event will feature good music, good food, good beer, and good fun,” said Leigh Anne Chambers, NCLAC executive director. “2010 seemed the perfect time to put this plan into action since Oktoberfest began in 1810.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit NCLAC’s 13th Holiday Arts Tour, which had an estimated economic impact of $64,480 in 2009, Chambers said. This year’s tour is set for Nov. 19-21.

Beer-tasting will highlight Artoberfest, but German food will also be on tap via a German Food Cook-off, and the event will also feature a “Best of the Region” appetizer contest featuring favorite local bar food and appetizers from participating restaurants.

“Our Southern hospitality will be evident for all to see,” Chambers said.

NCLAC is soliciting donations of beer from well-known Louisiana breweries and distributors, as well as from smaller boutique breweries throughout Louisiana and the South. Among the pledged participants are Lazy Magnolia Brewery in Mississippi (three brews), Marsala Beverage in Monroe (four brews), and 3Docs Brew House in Ruston.

“We want to offer local and area residents a taste of something new,” Chambers said. “The traditional Oktoberfest in Bavaria is the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million visitors. We’d like to capture some of that excitement here. Not only will Artoberfest offer an enjoyable, entertaining evening; it will also offer area residents a chance to support the arts and our local economy.”

Tickets are $35 each for NCLAC members and $45 each for non-members. For more information, call (318) 255-1450 or visit the NCLAC offices in the Dixie Center for the Arts, 212 N. Vienna, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Only 120 tickets will be sold. Firehouse contract stipulations specify that tickets cannot be sold at the door, so if there are remaining tickets the night of the event, they will be sold at the Dixie.