Macon Octoberfest returns for second year

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Beer enthusiasts and music-lovers flocked to Tattnall Square Park this weekend in celebration of the second annual Macon Octoberfest.

The Bavarian-inspired festival, held on Oct. 24-25, featured live entertainment from bands in the southeastern region and served nearly 70 craft beers on tap.

Lisa Harris and her husband Shannon Harris along with her sister-in-law Heather Harris and husband Travis Harris launched the event. The family owns a hiking company founded in 1978 called Alpine Adventure Trails, which leads treks through the Swiss Alps.

The idea for the event began in celebration of their company’s anniversary, said Lisa Harris. The family was inspired by one of the Oktoberfest celebrations that took place in Austria, one of their stops on their tours, and they decided to bring the festival to Macon.

“We just brought it here because… I mean everybody loves a big tent, a good beer and everybody likes great music,” said Harris. “And you’re doing it all having fun and you’re giving to the community.”

All of the food, breweries, performers, and merchants are locally from around the state, according to the nonprofit’s website. The nonprofit doesn’t charge the vendors at the event.

The event proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association Georgia Chapter, All about Animals Rescue and L.H. Ecology Center.

Last year, the company gave private donations to charities, said Lisa. As the nonprofit continues to grow, they hope that they will be able to generate more money for the different charities.

“The focus is to bring the community together and provide a local support and drive some economy here,” said Lisa Harris.

The event sold 490 pre-sold tickets meaning that the company could possibly reign in 5,000 people in attendance over the weekend, said Harris. Last year, the nonprofit held the event in downtown Macon at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and had 3,200 people in attendance.

With the move to a new location, Harris said she’s noticed more Mercer students attend the event because of its new central location. Even the Mercer Robotics Club had a tent set up at the event.

“We’ve had a lot of great response from the students,” Harris said. “Last year, the Mercer medical team of them did some volunteering and then called us out again and said ‘Hey, can we be apart of it.”

In order to pull off a successful weekend event, the family plans a year in advance.

Most of the wooden pallets used to make the decorations along with the 140-pallett bar were donated or scouted online at Craigslist Inc., said Heather Harris, who decorated the event. However, Heather’s most treasured find were wooden pallets taken from a house built in the 1800s. She said that she used the wood to decorate the bar.

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