A FREE Community Event Celebrating the Start of Florida’s Gardening Season
LAKE WALES, Fla. – The Sixth Annual Boktoberfest celebration takes place Saturday, October 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bok Tower Gardens and marks the start of Florida’s gardening season. Admission is free. Members of the Gardens get a sneak peek and opportunity to purchase plants Friday, October 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Visit boktoberfest.com or call 863-676-1408 for more information.
More than 40 VENDORS from across the state will offer a variety of plants for sale including orchids, palms, tropical fruits, Florida natives, ferns, bamboo, roses, heliconias, bromeliads, tillandsia air plants, lilies and many more. Educational vendors will be on hand from Lake Kissimmee State Park, Happy Hives, HEART Institute, Keep Polk County Beautiful, Polk County Master Gardeners, Archbold Biological Station, Ridge Rangers, and Florida Industrial & Phosphate Research Institute.
“Boktoberfest was really the start of something special for the Gardens,” explains Jennifer Beam, Director of Visitor Services and Programs. “We’re able to engage thousands of visitors in a meaningful and practical way by bringing in plant growers and specialists to speak about native plants, what plants to grow at home, how to choose the right vegetable garden, and how to grow organically. There’s great German food, entertainment, and activities for kids, too. It makes for a really fun day with your family.”
Attendance at last year’s event exceeded 9,000 visitors.
The schedule of GUEST SPEAKERS is as follows:
10 a.m. Dr. David Shibles, UF Extension Office — “Container Vegetable Gardening”
11 a.m. Mary Beth Henry, UF Extension Office — “Raising Chickens 101”
12 noon Glen Bupp, Bok Tower Gardens — “Edelweiss and Scrub Lupine”
1 p.m. Dr. George Fitzpatrick, University of Florida — “Palms of Florida”
2 p.m. Tom MacCubbin, Author and Radio Host — “Florida Gardening Challenges”
3 p.m. Greg Kramer, Bok Tower Gardens — “Don’t Get Your Roots in a Knot”
This free community festival has grown to become one of Central Florida’s favorite fall celebrations, with live entertainment, tree climbing, face and pumpkin painting, Biergarten with craft and seasonal beers, authentic German food, silent auction and more. The Visitor Center, Blue Palmetto Café, and Tower & Garden Gift Shop will remain open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pinewood Estate will offer self-guided tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $5.
LIVE MUSIC kicks off at 8 a.m. with Dr. Jimmy Moore on Acoustic Guitar. An award-winning solo performer, Dr. Moore extends his love of guitar beyond the classical genre and is known for his skills in various Spanish and Latin styles. At 9:30 a.m. it’s German Dancing by SG Alpenrose. Since 1980, this Orlando-based dance company has fostered among its members a genuine love for Alpine traditions, customs, Schuhplattler folkdances, comradeship, and original Bavarian costumes. At 10 a.m., visitors will be treated to The Nu Soundz Polka Band, consisting of Stan Simms on Electronic Accordion and Bass, Gerry Kryk on Sax/Clarinet, and Mark Kotlarczyk on drums, featuring both Polish and English vocals.
Back by popular demand at 12 noon is the Jimmy and Eckhard German Oktoberfest Show, a three-member lederhosen ensemble performing authentic German music with sing-alongs, traditional “Ein Prosit” toast, birdie dance, polkas, waltzes and comedy. Finally at 3 p.m., Terry Cavanagh & Alpine Express combine the time-tested traditions of a German Oktoberfest with some of the most talented, colorful, and fun performers you will ever see. Their show has been called “Accordion with an Attitude,” and the perfect way to end the day at Boktoberfest. At 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., there will also be live half-hour concerts from Geert D’hollander on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon.
The Gardens’ Blue Palmetto Café will prepare AUTHENTIC GERMAN FOOD including beer brats, schnitzel plates, Reuben sandwiches, German potato salad, braised cabbage, hot dogs, kraut dogs, German drop doughnuts, and black forest cake. Biergarten concessions from Little Joe’s Grille include potato pancakes, bratwurst, chicken on a stick, Italian and Polish sausage, hot dogs, corn dogs, cabbage and noodles, veggie wraps, Greek options with tabouleh and hummus, funnel cakes, and more. A variety of keg and craft beers as well as wines, sodas and water will be available.
ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS feature a petting zoo with mini cow, piglets, chicks, bunnies, rooster, goats and sheep. Plus there will be scarecrow building, pumpkin painting, spice collages, an art mural, and more. Face painting and airbrush tattoos are also available for an additional fee. Pathfinder Outdoor Education once again leads Family Tree Climbing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for $12 per person ages 6 and up. Juggles the Clown performs on the main stage at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
A SILENT AUCTION benefiting the Gardens features dozens of unique items to bid on, from rounds of golf and Walt Disney World tickets to a guided kayak trip and hot air balloon ride. Artwork, gift baskets, restaurant certificates, and more will be available. Special items being auctioned this year are a private dinner for eight at Historic Pinewood Estate and a Winter Haven getaway including dinner and tickets to Legoland.
FREE SATELLITE PARKING will be provided by IMPACT Church and along the Bok Tower Gardens entrance road. Shuttle transportation will be available throughout the day, and carpooling is strongly recommended.
For MORE INFORMATION, visit boktoberfest.com or call 863-676-1408.
Sponsors for the Sixth Annual Boktoberfest include TD Bank, Winter Haven Honda, Visit Central Florida, TECO Energy, Duke Energy, and Tractor Supply Co. Media partners for the event are the Ledger Media Group, Sun Newspapers, WEDU, and WMNF 88.5-FM. Additional support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.