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Cheers! Oktoberfest is here

Party time: from left, Island Restaurant Group executive chef Derek Myers, Frog and Onion manager Rickeisha Burgess and ITG president Philip Barnett (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A taste of Germany is set to return to Dockyard this week as the Frog and Onion Restaurant celebrates Oktoberfest.

Philip Barnett, of the Island Restaurant Group, said that in the past three years, the event — inspired by the largest German volksfest, or beer festival — has only grown in popularity, offering patrons traditional German food and music with locally brewed beer.

“Myself, living up in Somerset, I always walked through the Victualling Yard and thought this would be a great place for a party, and I thought about how we could do it and what would thematically work,” he said.

“We have Dockyard Brewery, and it seemed like such a natural fit to have a beer festival because we make our own beer, and that’s how it came to light.

“I sat down and searched for Oompah bands on Google, and looked for traditional German-style Oompah, and I came across this YouTube video of these guys dressed up in lederhosen and they were playing Bohemian Rhapsody and it was awesome.

“It was so unique, so different, and so we had to try to put something together.”

He said on the first night of the first event, the weather failed to comply, but droves of people attended and celebrated despite a deluge of rain.

Rickeisha Burgess, manager at the Frog and Onion, added: “We got swamped, and they danced in the mud. They did everything. It was amazing to kick this off.”

She said this year’s event is already looking to be a success with seats for Saturday already sold out and Friday night festivities already well on their way to being sold out.

This year, Ms Burgess said there had been an added emphasis on the Sunday afternoon festivities, which are intended to be a more family friendly celebration with bouncy castles and activities. “We are inviting the families this year, giving the children apple juice in steins so they can do the cheers,” she said.

Mr Barnett added: “The music is great for children as well as adults.

“There are songs, there are activities. It’s a very interactive show in which you have to participate because everybody else is participating.”

Meanwhile, executive chef Derek Myers has work ahead of him, preparing traditional German food for the crowds.

“We do about 400lbs of sausage. We bring that in from a sausage-maker in New York,” he said. “We do roast chicken — we go through about 14 cases of roast chicken — we go through nine cases of potatoes for German potato salad and about 9lbs of sauerkraut.

“It’s rustic. It’s potatoes and meat. It’s great. As a kid I remember going to my parents and getting pierogies and sauerkraut and potatoes.

“It’s traditional, it’s good, and it fills you up when you’re drinking a lot of beer.”

The four-day event begins tomorrow and advanced tickets are available at ptix.bm.