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A bitte beer for Junetoberfest
Second annual festival coming to Downtown Drafts
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Downtown Drafts on Bradford Street on the Gainesville square. Photo courtesy of Aimee Hoecker.

If you’re looking to dip into a bit of German beer culture, but want to avoid the leather pants and bad hair, Downtown Drafts has you covered with Junetoberfest this Saturday.

Evoking Munich’s world-famous beer festival, Junetoberfest is a sidewalk festival on the square organized by Aimee and Nick Hoecker, the owners of the downtown growler bar.

The event includes a slew of German beers, a dunk tank and low country boil. It doubles as a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, according to Nick Hoecker.

Dollar for dollar:

Check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s CharityWatch rating.

The foundation has an overall A rating and dedicates 83 percent of its revenue to its mission, with the rest covering overhead. Its CEO and chief medical officer both get paid about $387,000.

But the main event on Saturday is the selection of German beer Southerners normally can’t find on tap, and they’re (probably) as delicious as they are unpronounceable: Weihenstephan Dunkel, Hefeweizen, Braupakt, Bitburger Pilsner, Kostritzer Schwarzbier, Stiegl Lager, and two fruity varieties of Radler.

The IPA snobs out there should take heed, this won’t be the triple-hopped, Portland-style pinesap you’re used to drinking. Expect these foreigners to be malty, wheaty or otherwise heavy brews that a couple centuries ago would have been consumed more often than water.

And this is the kind of thing folks used to drink at breakfast, if that’s your thing.

But anyway, Downtown Drafts will be out on Bradford Street and in their shop from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The event itself is free, but beer, food and entertainment carry a charge. The food set for Saturday is a low country boil, a hearty mix of shrimp, sausage, potatoes, corn and onions.

Hoecker said that in addition to a dunk tank — which will feature a few faces well-known to the Downtown Drafts regulars — the event will be kid-friendly and include a table for face painting.

Here are a few Oktoberfest fun facts:

  • Beer is served by the liter at the festival. One liter is just more than 2.1 pints.

  • In 2017, 6.2 million people visited the festival and drank 7.5 million liters of beer, or 15,850,323 pints. (Please, Gainesville, don’t drink this much on Saturday.)

  • More than 4,000 items are lost every year at the festival, and the organization keeps a dedicated lost and found page on its website, including “1,300 passports, 620 pieces of clothing, 600 wallets, 520 smartphones and cellphones, 360 keys, 325 pairs of glasses, 120 umbrellas, 100 bags and rucksacks, 95 pieces of jewelry and 15 cameras.”

  • Oktoberfest starts in September, not in October, because.

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