Last September 23-24, 2016 marked the 8th annual Beau’s Oktoberfest, a two-day Fall festival featuring Bavarian culture and quite the selection of craft beer.
Beau’s, one of our first clients, puts on an event that needs great bus service. It’s located in Vankleek Hill, a small town with little parking and few roads limiting its accessibility. Yet buses allow the event to grow without causing major issues that often come with popular events and drinking.
Together we provided roundtrip transportation for Beau's Oktoberfest attendees. We also had free shuttles between the parking plaza and the fairgrounds for guests who came with their own vehicles – making sure everyone could get on site.
In total, we moved 4,550 people and ran 130 bus trips from Montreal, Ottawa, and Cornwall.
Morning Bus Departures
STB volunteers were stationed at departure points with buses leaving between 10AM and 2PM. Alongside Beau’s helpful staff, we checked passengers in during that time.
Being there in person is always a great way for us to get to know our customers and partners. Interesting encounters were also part of the equation – we met a rad local news anchor (as we hinted, buses can act as social bridges) and boarded a group of 23 men for a bachelor party. If that was any indication of what a good time Beau’s Oktoberfest was going to be, then we were all set from the get-go.
As 2PM came and the last bus rolled in, off to the Hill we went!
The Beau’s Oktoberfest Experience
Once we got to Vankleek Hill, we grabbed our alpine hat, some beer tokens, and dived into the merry crowd.
Granted, I’m not the finest beer connoisseur, but my colleagues are – and they seemed pleased with the solid craft selection that Beau’s had on tap. As for me, s’ok, I still managed to look deceptively cool with my (rather tasty) cider.
With so many gastronomical options, the event also made for a great foodie destination. After indulging in a charcuterie poutine and with a schnitzel in hand, we headed off to catch a traditional Oktoberfest activity: the keg toss competition. The night later ended with punk-rock performances by independent Canadian artists at the Black Forest stage near the skater-filled halfpipe, a prime hangout spot.
What Could Be Improved
The festivities ended around 9PM as the last shows were wrapping up. Morning bus departures were rather tame, but things got rowdier at night. As the crowd poured out, coordinating where everybody had to go was more complicated.
We wouldn’t be entirely truthful if we painted the whole picture with just rainbows and kittens. As this year’s event grew bigger, it surely enough led to some setbacks: a couple of warranted detours due to closed down highways and on-site congestion with so many vehicles circulating (taxis and artists’ trucks were part of the mix too).
Still, Wolf, our Chief Logistics Officer, spearheaded the operation to make sure everybody got on the right bus and home safely at the end of the night. Special mention goes to all the bus drivers who drove people back safe and sound!
All in all, it wasn’t sans trouble, but it ended a success. Organizing bus transportation to an event hasn’t always been the easiest feat, but by minimizing friction we make the entire process a lot smoother. Throw laughter and fun into the mix, and you have a winning combination. Prost!
Photo Credit: Byfield Pitman Photography and Mathew MacQuarrie