CARLSBAD — Oktoberfest has become Oktober-Feast.
The annual festival organized by both Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary and Carlsbad Rotary Club is taking a different approach this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of a typical one-day event at Holliday Park, the Rotarians are joining forces with nine restaurants for a month-long celebration to raise funds to be donated back to community organizations.
“It went through several iterations of what we could do,” said Bill Baer, the Oktober-Feast co-chair said. “Then in June or July, we came up with Oktober-Feast.”
The club never thought of canceling the event, but knew it had to pivot to avoid breaking a 38-year tradition. So, creative thinking took hold and the club opted to partner with local restaurants to help drive business during a historically slow month, said Vince Ponce, co-chair of the event.
At the height of the pandemic, Ponce said the organization began discussions on what they could do, rather than what they could not. Being active philanthropists, the idea of the month-long event is an opportunity to give back to the community in the form of participating restaurants.
So far, the Rotarians have secured nine restaurants as part of the program. Customers will receive 15% off food tickets at those restaurants, while the group is soliciting sponsors. The sponsorship money will then be donated to various charities, nonprofits, club projects and high school scholarships.
“Rotary would be the vehicle to market and really drive patrons to the restaurants that chose to participate,” Ponce said. “Understanding families are really struggling … we thought that by discounting meals at restaurants we could have more local families and help businesses.”
Those participating include The Landings, Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse, Vigilucci’s Cucina Italiana, Tin Leaf Kitchen, Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, Señor Grubby’s and Tommy V’s.
Tip Top Meats, a German-style restaurant, is also providing a special German meal for $9.98.