Market Street’s first annual Oktoberfest got off to a slow start on Saturday but as afternoon turned to evening, a crowd began to gather for the event designed to raise funds for The Shepherd’s House and Helping Hands of Surry.
By the end of the night, more than 300 people had come out to enjoy Oktoberfest and offer their support to the two local charities, according to Mary Boyles, executive director of The Shepherd’s House.
Oktoberfest was sponsored by White Elephant Brewing Company and Thirsty Souls Community Brewery, both located on Market Street in downtown Mount Airy. The block-long street was closed to traffic, a large bandshell was constructed in the middle of the street and attendees meandered about, enjoying live music, food and beverages. Featured band C2 and The Brothers Reed followed Unaka Prong, George Smith and Evan Button.
“To me, events like this where local businesses are willing to give back and help a homeless shelter really speak well of our community,” said Boyles.
“Homelessness is a huge problem in our area and The Shepherd’s House is basically funded through the community.”
Nicholas Cooke, speaking on behalf of Helping Hands of Surry said, “Events like this help with awareness. We’ve only been around since 2011 and there are still a lot of people who don’t know we exist.”
Cooke added, “Any funds raised for us will help with our utility bill assistance program which helps people keep their power on in the winter months. Some people have newborn babies and are faced with losing power.
Making the choice between paying the power bill or paying the rent is a hard decision people earning minimum wage often have to make, said Cooke. And you have to keep from being evicted and stay in your house to need power.
Boyles said that The Shepherd’s House often works with Helping Hands of Surry when clients graduate from the shelter to a home of their own. “It takes a lot of money to get into a new place and Helping Hands of Surry often helps with those initial expenses, such as utility deposits.”
“I grew up here,” said Boyles, “and I like the community support.” Oktoberfest was the second benefit for The Shepherd’s House on Saturday. Earlier in the day, Central States Manufacturing had sponsored a golf tournament at Cross Creek, organized by Alan Spence, according to Boyles.
“Their company had the winning team and donated the prize money back to The Shepherd’s House,” said Boyles. “That’s the kind of community we have here.”
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.