Oktoberfest in Old Aylmer draws full crowds
As Old Aylmer hosted its first annual Oktoberfest event on September 24, 25 and 26, people from the sector and beyond packed rue Principale by the hundreds to sip beers, indulge in German-inspired cuisine, and soak in the festive atmosphere.
Organized by a small committee represented by the Aylmer Association of Professionals, Industrials, and Merchants (APICA) and local brewery 5e Baron, and in partnership with the city of Gatineau, the event was all about getting the community together to celebrate autumn and support local businesses. This is an alternative to the harvest festivities of past years.
The event kicked off on Friday evening with an opening ceremony at Bistro L’Autre Oeil, seeing Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau do the commemorative keg tapping, followed by a night of live music, German food, and cold beverages. Seeing part of rue Principale - between rue Jubilee and rue Parker - closed off from traffic for the two following days, the event showcased a number of headlining musical acts, including Plants and Animals, Naya Ali, and Mia Kelly, gracing the main stage, along with plenty more street artists and entertainment in the vicinity for folks to enjoy.
With numerous local merchants and brewers in kiosks and food trucks lined up along the enclosed street, crowds of pedestrians - some wearing Bavarian regalia - roamed the grounds freely making rue Prinicipale seem as bustling with foot traffic as ever before. Brewers on site included 5e Baron, Gallicus, and La Dérive. Participating businesses included La Femme à Marier, Brown Bag Coffee Roasters’ Barista Mobile, Beurre Salé Crêprerie et Boutique, Mash’d, and Le BBQ Shop’s food truck, among others. One of the event’s main organizers and co-owner of 5e Baron Jacob Barrette told the Aylmer Bulletin that the event was initially created as a way of highlighting the brewery’s selection of German beers – a staple of its repertoire – and Bavarian heritage. “We have a large German influence in terms of beers, and sometimes it gets lost in the IPAs we release,” Barrette said, noting that 5e Baron sold five of its nine different German-style beers at its kiosk during the event. “Because of the beer portfolio, it made sense to get an Oktoberfest. Plus, it’s always a great time for lagers.”
Enthralled with how the event went, the number of people it brought to the charming streets of Old Aylmer, and the efforts that went into organizing it, APICA President Steven Boivin said it painted a near perfect picture of the sense of community that identifies the sector. “When everybody lends a hand, everybody works together to put together an event, to see all the residents come … everything is free, local beer, good bands, good vibes, that’s Aylmer,” Boivin said. “All the local businesses really jumped into the Oktoberfest atmosphere.”
Limiting a maximum of 500 people inside the enclosed area simultaneously, due to the provincial government vaccine passport requirements and current Covid-19 public safety regulations for the region, Boivin said the event saw around 4,000 ticket registrations for both days. “It added a lot of work to the entire team for the coordination of everything,” Boivin said, noting that around 20 volunteers helped make the festival possible. “There’s something natural in Aylmer. When something is happening, people jump in.”