Did you know that the annual Indian Rocks Beach Oktoberfest on the Beach began as a Super Bowl tailgate party?
In 2001, the A2K Board of Directors was trying to find a way to increase organization exposure and membership. That was the year that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stadium was selected to host the Super Bowl. A2K Director, Patti Muneio had the brainstorm that an A2K-sponsored public party would be a perfect way to celebrate and let local residents and businesses know about the groups’ plan to preserve, revitalize and enrich our community.
The IRB City Commission approved the event, granted the use of Chic-A-Si Park, the sale of draft beer and underwrote the general insurance coverage. Crabby Bill’s Restaurant graciously provided the liability insurance.
The weather was perfect and several hundred attended the day long event. The hard work of A2K’s Board of Directors Ralph Montgomery, Patti Muneio, Larry Torgerson and John Pickens and its members paid off. The net profit was over $3000 and allowed A2K to fund its first streetscaping project at 16th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard. The event had put Action 2000, Inc. in the public eye and membership more than doubled.
The event was such a success that A2K members decided to make it an annual community celebration and fundraiser. The 2002 venue grew to include live music, an art exhibition by the Beach Arts Center as well as participation with the Gulf Beaches YMCA. The City continued its support and more and more sponsors signed on. Having outgrown Chic-A-Si Park, the festival was moved to Kolb Park that not only offered additional space but also a dance area, restroom facilities and other amenities. Oktoberfest on the Beach was born!
This beachy version of the German tradition has become a signature event for the IRB community and helps raise funds for non-profit Action 2000 (A2K). Oktoberfest proceeds have allowed A2K to jointly fund several City streetscaping projects as well as pedestrian benches and shelters along Gulf Boulevard.
The simple beginnings of a Super Bowl tailgate party has flourished and now includes contests for children and adults, foods from around the world, arts and craft vendors and a silent auction area with donations from local residents and businesses. Thanks to the support of the City of Indian Rocks Beach, financial sponsorships and donations, and the tireless efforts of volunteers, the event continues to flourish with over 6,000 in attendance each year.