Beer, bratwurst, bands highlight NOCtoberfest

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The spirit of Germany’s Oktoberfest came to Nocatee Oct. 26-27, as the master-planned community hosted NOCtoberfest – an outdoor festival featuring beer, bratwursts and a two-day lineup featuring a dozen bands. The event attracted thousands of attendees, who had an opportunity to sip and savor dozens of domestic and international beers. Guests received a NOCtoberfest passport which they could get stamped at beer tents bearing the names of German cities such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Kiel. Attendees who got their passports stamped at all four tents received a t-shirt.

Complementing the various Bavarian beverages were numerous food trucks, a kids’ activity zone, a Ferris wheel and a crafters’ area.

Having a nationally known band perform was central to the event’s design, Nocatee Community Manager David Ray acknowledged.

“That was an important element we wanted in planning the event,” Ray said. “We wanted to reach beyond Nocatee to the wider community. The greater the ticket sales, the bigger of a headline act we could attract.”

Ray noted that Nocatee presented NOCtoberfest in partnership with Woolsey Concert Group and credited Josh Woolsey with bringing the idea for the event to the community for consideration. Until recently, Woolsey – also a partner in the law firm of Woolsey/Morcom – was himself a resident of Nocatee, which is home to one of his law firm’s offices.

“The funny thing is, I still feel like I’m party of the community,” he said, noting that his law firm colleague Travis Klare helped organized NOCtoberfest. “I wanted to bring a national act here for my friends and neighbors to enjoy.”

In addition to Sister Hazel – whose Saturday night concert held attendees enthralled – the NOCtoberfest lineup included bands such as Barnes & The Heat, the Aaron Mansfield Band, The Band Be Easy and local band Austin Park. The modern country rock band named after one of Nocatee’s neighborhoods drew an enthusiastic crowd of local supporters, who cheered for songs such as “A Girl Walks In” and “Home Run,” which is now getting airplay on country stations across the nation.

Woolsey is already looking ahead to next year’s NOCtoberfest, expanding on the success of this year’s festival.

 “It’s a great community event that’s helping local charities, too,” he said, noting that the beer tents were staffed by volunteers from local nonprofits. “We think that as it grows, we can add a second national act on Sunday, too.”

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