What does Elke have to say?
My first impression of Harvest Haus was that they, were amazingly successful for a first-time event. They sold out 1,000 seats both Friday & Saturday nights! I found out about this event a week or so before, by reading about it on Facebook. Hardly anyone I asked had heard about this event, so I am wondering if they could have done more marketing much sooner. Or, if they could have teamed up with the Vancouver Christmas Market to access their audience, who would naturally be excited to have two events, instead of just one. I mean, maybe we could just call this area the “German Corner” and use it for similar events year-round.
The other thing is that I felt this event should have been run over two weekends, instead of just one, or maybe even every weekend in October, and that this event could have been a little more authentic.
My main beef were with the “Burgermeister” (Mayor) who didn’t speak a word of German, although he was very welcoming, and said “Call me Ludwig”. I thought he was super nice, just not authentic. There are plenty of German-speaking people in Vancouver who could have played the part instead. Then there was the DJ, who also super friendly, was playing club music, rather than German music and just not sporting the Harvest Haus suspenders or any kind of authentic clothes. But both were nice guys.
The basic food and drink options were fine. They had up to 19 different kinds of beer including Rickard’s Lederhosen (Strong, hoppy and goes great with German Bratwurst or a warm pretzel), Löwenbräu, and Krombacher Weizen. They also had food booths and apple strudl by Artisan Bakeries. (http://www.artisanbakeshoppe.com)
Next year, my advice would be to have at least one or two bank machines on site, as many things depended on having cash on hand. By the time a hungry & thirsty patron had finished buying/renting a mug, ordering beer and purchasing food, it would be easy to run out of cold, hard cash. You also had to trade this cash in for “guilders”, that you would use to buy the beer of choice. Outside, you had the choice to line up for food to the Nudelhaus, Bratwurst by Oyama Sausage, Rotisserie by old German and German-style poutines by cocktails and canapes. I think they were missing Schnitzel and currywurst, though, which are both somewhat accessible in Vancouver and would have brought more authenticity to the event.
The first you saw when you walked in the door were hundreds of Harvest Haus mugs, that you could buy or “rent” for $8. When you returned the mug, after endless hours of active use, you would get $7 back. These two ladies “guarding the mugs” were taking their job very seriously. And they also weren’t dressed in dirndl (traditional Bavarian costumes). The idea should be to give Canadians a “taste of the true”.
Everyone should be participating, and be jolly and ready to welcome the hordes. Still had a great, fun atmosphere, though. Since I arrived at precisely 6 pm, hardly anyone had even finished their first beer, let along ordered one, so this could be why the atmosphere was still a little laid back. The crowd consisted mostly of 20 and 30-year olds, with half of them wearing something traditionally German, and half of them just dressed in their clubbing clothes. I didn’t stay that long, as I had to go to another event, so I never had a chance to see the bands or dancing. If anyone has some footage of this, please let me know!
In the meantime, they also had happy employees who were willing to indulge the public with some smiles and silliness to get them in the mood to party! Maybe next year, they can organize at least one set with the S-Bahn Band (www.sbahnmusic.com) who would entertain the crowd, Oktoberfest style. But for this year, I was not around when the hall filled, the drinking started and the dancing began. Hopefully this event will be back again next year.
They had two ladies in a very short dirndls waiting to post with patrons in front of a “Step-and-repeat” Banner. Very popular and great idea!. There was also a big sign in the corner announcing that the Buergomeister would be making an appearance, but when I asked the staff or volunteers about him, nobody seemed to know anything. This could be something for next year: either inform everyone of the active events or have some “event ambassadors” ready to guide and inform people, in case they are interested.
In case you want to learn more about this event, you can look at their website: http://www.harvest-haus.com/event-info/
And my final picture is showing the Stein exchange station for when you leave or you have just had too many different kinds of beer in one mug. LOL. Apparently there were also different kinds of wine, but you just drank out of an ordinary glass
Now the next big event to look forward to is the Vancouver Christmas Market, which is also held at the same outdoor venue. There may be a lantern festival (around November 11th) or a Nikolaus Festival (December 6th) there, as well. Who knows what the future will hold here? Perhaps a Fasching/carnival in February? A May Fest with an authentic maypole dance? Let’s keep the cultural festivals going! Thanks to Harvest Haus for getting us started, and proving that Vancouver is indeed a very multicultural city.