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BACtoberfest Celebrates German Culture Among Irish Neighbors

By Howard Ludwig | October 18, 2013 6:29am
 BACtoberfest brings a touch of German culture to the predominately Irish neighborhoods of Beverly and Morgan Park.
BACtoberfest brings a touch of German culture to the predominately Irish neighborhoods of Beverly and Morgan Park.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — Celebrating German culture may be a tough sell in a neighborhood synonymous with the South Side Irish.

But that's exactly what the Beverly Arts Center has been doing for more than a decade with its annual BACtoberfest. The celebration will be held from 4-10 p.m. Saturday in the center's outdoor courtyard at 2407 W. 111th St. in Morgan Park.

Nancy Abbate, the interim executive director for the arts center, likened the event to a backyard party.

"You get a whole lot for $10," Abbate said. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

Four bands with a wide range of musical styles will perform: the Bratwurst Brothers (Oktoberfest favorites), Brown Bag (rock), Terriers (indie rock) and The In-Laws (country).

Goose Island is sponsoring the event and using it to showcase its Oktoberfest brew. The copper-colored beer is described as having "notes of toffee and burnt sugar in the aroma, and flavors of sweet dried apricots are delivered in a dry malty body."

Beverly-based Sweet Freaks will also offer its signature chocolates and desserts at BACtoberfest.

The Beverly Arts Center has struggled financially in recent years. On Sept. 26, a bailout plan was announced. With help from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Fifth Third Bank and several local donors, a plan was hatched to raise $500,000 in one year.

Achieving the goals set forth in this fundraising effort — dubbed the BAC Challenge — will wipe out an additional $2 million in mortgage debt on the highly-visible property. Thus far, donations have been brisk, said Abbate, though she did not provide specifics.

"Checks are coming in daily, and we've received several Internet contributions. Other people just come up to the desk," she said.

The proceeds from BACtoberfest aren't intended to be used toward the fundraising effort. But art center executives will be on hand to make passionate pleas to attendees at the outdoor festival.

Abbate said BACtoberfest is less about raising money and more about spreading the word about the center's many programs and events. It's also about celebrating outside in the last days before winter arrives.

"We are celebrating October with great bands, food and fun," she said.