What’s new in food: Asheville Oktoberfest returns to Pack Square Park

PACK SQUARE PROST: Asheville Oktoberfest returns to Pack Square Park for first time since 2019. Photo courtesy Asheville Downtown Association

Asheville Oktoberfest, Asheville Downtown Association’s local spin on the traditional Bavarian festival, returns to Pack Square Pavilion on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2-6 p.m., for the first time since 2019.

The event, which began in 2012, will invite 23 beverage vendors from across Western North Carolina to pour multiple selections of brews, cocktails, wine, cider and ginger beer. While the vendors’ specific contributions are being kept secret, patrons can expect a range of libations from traditional German festbiers and autumnal lagers to more experimental fare highlighting familiar fall flavors.

“This is one of Asheville’s only beverage festivals featuring exclusively local vendors,” says Hayden Plemmons, executive director of the Asheville Downtown Association. The association partnered with the Asheville Brewers Alliance to encourage participation from as many local brewers as possible, with priority given to applicants identifying as women, LGBTQ+ and racial minorities. The only requirement is that all vendors offer a fall-themed or Oktoberfest beverage.

“We took extra care to make this an inclusive festival that respects the spirit of Asheville,” says Asheville Downtown Association event manager Marci Ingram.

Aloft Hotel will sponsor, and the Asheville Sport and Social Club will produce, a set of traditional Oktoberfest games such as Masskrugstemmen (stein hoisting), a lederhosen relay, pretzel toss and beer pong. Winners will receive prizes including brewery merchandise, gift cards and steins.

Food vendors Smasheville, Blunt Pretzels, Simply Hot Dogs and Darë Vegan Cheese will provide both classic Oktoberfest food (brats, schnitzel, pretzels, etc.) and local fare (burgers, sandwiches, vegan options). Robert Bennett of Totally Rad Trivia will serve as the event’s emcee, and bands Lagerhosen and The Hillclimbers will play live music.

“The Asheville Downtown Association works to create a vibrant and active Downtown Asheville; we hope that folks come out and enjoy all this Oktoberfest has to offer while supporting the thriving beverage scene across the city,” says Plemmons.

Tickets cost $55 for general admission, $100 for VIP (early entry, exclusive perks) and $20 for a designated driver/non-drinking ticket. Pack Square Park is at 80 Court Plaza. Visit avl.mx/d13 for tickets.

Art night for hospitality workers

Asheville Art Museum will host a Hospitality Workers Date Night event on Thursday, Oct. 5, 5-8 p.m., offering free general admission to anyone in the hospitality industry.

“The Asheville Art Museum would like to acknowledge Asheville’s hardworking hospitality and restaurant service community and invite them to unwind, socialize and explore the museum,” says communications manager Hilary Greene. “Everyone is welcome, including couples, singles and/or groups of co-workers.”

The evening of art, music, tours and togetherness includes crafted cocktails at the museum’s Perspective Café, two of which play on the classic Aperol spritz and cosmopolitan with inspiration from a current exhibition, The Art of Food. Local drink specials, including $6 beers and $9 wines, will also be served. Prints of paintings from featured collections will be available for guests to color in as they sip.

Deborah Czeresko, season one winner of the Netflix series “Blown Away,” and Tim Tate, director of the Washington Glass School, will hold a discussion on their shared history of using glass sculpture to highlight LGTBQ+ rights. The museum’s Learning and Engagement staff will also lead an experiential class on how to create natural art using everyday produce. DJ MOJAV will provide live music throughout the event from the museum’s Sculpture Terrace.

Asheville Art Museum is at 2 S. Pack Square. Online registration is recommended. Visit avl.mx/d14 for additional information.

Lookout asks, ‘Wine not?’

Lookout Brewing Co. wine representative Taylor Goodale will lead an exploratory wine tasting at the brewery on Thursday, Oct. 5, 6-8 p.m.

“Even though we are a brewery, we like to invite all kinds of folks to enjoy an evening here,” says General Manager Tonya Engelbrecht. “We have a fairly extensive wine list for a brewery.”

A sparkling wine starter will be followed by tastings of two white wines and three red wines from Goodale’s portfolio in her position at Advintage Wines. Charcuterie-style small plates will be provided throughout the tasting. The theme for this event is “stuff Taylor is stoked about,” explains Engelbrecht. “She is studying to be a sommelier and is very knowledgeable about wine but presents it in a more relaxed and approachable way.”

In addition to the wine enjoyed on-site, discounts on bulk purchases of wine to take home will be available for orders of six and 12 bottles.

Lookout Brewing Co. is at 103 S. Ridgeway Ave., Black Mountain. Visit avl.mx/d17 for tickets ($30 per person) and additional information.

Yellow brick drag brunch

Asheville Drag Brunch hosts The Brunch of Oz, the nonprofit organization’s first event themed after The Wizard of Oz, on Sunday, Oct. 8, 1-2 p.m., at plēb urban winery.

“We chose this theme due to its multigenerational connection,” says Asheville Drag Brunch’s Divine Holeburn. “While this is not a reenactment of the film, the performances are inspired by the story and classic characters. We’re over the rainbow about it!”

Tickets, starting at $30 per person, include admission to the event, a catered fried chicken brunch (which includes Kansas fried chicken, two sides, a roll and tea or lemonade) and performances from drag artists Jasmine Summers, Quindyn Tarantino, Nova Jynah and Katarina SynClaire. Mimosa and paired wine specials will also be available from plēb.

All proceeds from the event will go to Open Hearts Art Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit studio and gallery dedicated to empowering adults with varied abilities to connect to and reach their full potential through the arts. “We want to give a platform to those who are as passionate and as eloquent as Asheville Drag Brunch, and it is important we give opportunities for those voices to be heard,” adds plēb Executive Manager Lauren Turpin.

“We hope that our lively event is a celebration of diversity, community and charitable giving,” says Holeburn. “We model and promote the acceptance and equity of all people and encourage the welfare of our community members.”

plēb urban winery is at 289 Lyman St. Visit avl.mx/d15 for tickets and additional information.

Eat pizza, help animals

The Hendersonville Woman’s Club will host a pizza party benefiting the Blue Ridge Humane Society on Sunday, Oct. 8, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at Guidon Brewing Co.

Tickets cost $5 per person and include two slices of local pizza. All profits from the event will go directly to the Blue Ridge Humane Society, and Guidon Brewery will have a variety of beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages available for purchase.

“The Hendersonville Woman’s Club hopes to keep the public informed of the many programs that the Blue Ridge Humane Society provides to our area,” says Animal Compassion Committee chairperson Leslie Maier. “Some of us volunteer with the BRHS either at the shelter or in the thrift shop, and many of our members have adopted their pets from BRHS.”

Guidon Brewing Co. is at 415 Eighth Ave. E., Hendersonville. Visit avl.mx/d16 for tickets and additional information.

Foothills food trucks relocate

Foothills Farm & Butchery LLC has announced plans to transition its food trucks out of Asheville and into Black Mountain and Old Fort. Foothills’ presence in Black Mountain already includes Foothills Grange and Foothills Butcher Shop and Deli. Foothills Watershed will open later this year in Old Fort as an eatery and recreation space stretching over 37 acres along the Catawba River.

“We’ve invested in Black Mountain for over 20 years, and Old Fort is where we live and continue to raise our kids,” says Foothills co-founder Casey McKissick in a news release. “As Foothills matures, we want to commit our resources to our hometowns.”

Foothills’ last day at Hi-Wire Brewing’s Biltmore Village taproom was Oct. 2, and its last day at the Hi-Wire River Arts District Beer Garden will be Friday, Nov. 24. “We are currently working on permanent solutions for bringing food options to both locations,” says Hi-Wire marketing and public relations specialist Shanda Williams.

“Foothills has been a great partner for us,” adds Hi-Wire co-owner Adam Charnack. “After almost eight years, we mutually decided it was time to go our separate ways.”

Mehfil’s food truck will serve Hi-Wire Biltmore Village every Tuesday and Wednesday through October, and The Smokin’ Onion will serve Hi-Wire RAD on Mondays until permanent options are established.

For more information, visit avl.mx/6n3.

Ivory Road closes

Ivory Road Café & Kitchen will close at the end of October, says owner Jill Wasilewski in a social media announcement.

“These past seven years of restaurant ownership have brought me an immense amount of joy and fulfillment. … I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come as a little, independent restaurant,” says Wasilewski in the announcement. “However, I’m also feeling the exhausting effects of the restaurant industry and am needing a life change.”

While the end of October will mark the end of the restaurant’s breakfast and lunch service, all events scheduled through the end of 2023, including wine dinners, holiday teas and privately booked events, will still be held.

Wasilewski also alludes to a future phase of Ivory Road after taking this break.

Follow for updates at avl.mx/bcs.


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