The Santa Barbara Revels musical troupe hosted its first annual Oktoberfest last night at the Lobero Theatre to celebrate the German holiday and its cultural heritage.
The festival featured live performances by Biergarten Musikmeisters, traditional Bavarian garb and various authentic German beers, sauerkraut and apple strudel. Event proceeds will benefit the musical group — one of 10 Revel companies nationwide — for its upcoming production of The Christmas Revels as well as its St. Patrick’s and May Day celebrations.
According to Santa Barbara Revels founder and producer Susan Keller, the organization’s performances honor the culture’s seasonal rituals and ceremonies.
“It’s a great way to celebrate community,” Keller said. “It’s a really great movement and I thought it was a wonderful fit for Santa Barbara because Revels is all about celebrating seasonal change.”
The festival featured a number of locally micro-brewed beers and fine wines to satisfy attendees’ various palettes, according to Brewhouse Brew Master Pete Johnson.
“This time of year I make the Oktoberfest Lager, the classic Amber, German Lager and the German Wheat Beer, which is a nice lighter beer — an alternative for our hotter fall days here,” Johnson said. “A brewery is an essential part of the fabric of the life of the town. If you’re going to do an Oktoberfest celebration, you gotta have good beer!”
Executive Director of Solstice Claudia Bratton said festival-goers donned everything from dirndl dresses to lederhosen to emphasize the holiday’s spirit.
“For me, any opportunity to put on a costume and I’m there!” Bratton said. “The more creative you appear, you stimulate the creativity in other people. I think just bringing people together is so important. When you bring people together they talk, share experiences and that’s what we need to do in this world.”