What could be better than having two popular festivals at once -- and what could be worse?
We were delighted to hear it’s almost time for the 23rd Annual Oktoberfest on the River, and thrilled to learn that the Tybee Island Pirate Fest was returning after a successful debut last year. Then we realized -- they’re both set for Oct. 6, 7 and 8.
With careful planning it should be possible to get to both festivals. We at Connect Savannah are dedicated to helping our readers do just that with the help of the following quick looks at both festivals for comparison.
Oktoberfest is Savannah’s second largest outdoor festival, topped only by the St. Patrick’s Celebration on the River.
Live entertainment will feature headliners Firefall and the Spin Doctors, plus a German oompah band with performers in lederhosen and feathered hats. Those who love adventure will have several opportunities to do the Chicken Dance. (Bring you own chicken hat, please.)
A highlight of Oktoberfest is sure to be the 12th Annual Wiener Dog Races, which will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. This year’s races will be hosted by the Dachshund Social Club of Savannah.
“We have a new group taking over the wiener dog races,” says Rick Lott, executive director of the Savannah Waterfront Association, which organizes the event. “It’s kind of fitting that it’s a group officially dedicated to wiener dogs.”
As many as 30 “dash hounds” will be racing for the gold. The cost to enter a dachshund in the race is $10, all of which goes to the Dachshund Rescue of North America organization. The races have grown to be so popular, bleachers will be placed at the site for spectators.
There will be a Children’s Activity Area with coloring, bubble blowing and other projects. For the adults, there will be arts and crafts booth along the plaza.
Local restaurants will be serving a variety of food on the plaza, including bratwurst and strudel. The food booths will be judged for best decoration and best food.
For more information about Oktoberfest, call 234-0295 or visit www.riverstreetsavannah.com.
Things that make you go Aaaar: The Tybee Island Pirate Fest kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. when a band of pirates will invade Lazaretto Creek Marina & Cafe Loco to steal the key to the city from Tybee Island Mayor Jason Bueleman.
Live entertainment, food, souvenirs and children’s activities at Little Matey Cove will be presented as part of the festivities.
Outdoor music will be presented from 7-10 p.m. Da Gullah Rootz will be playing reggae.
At 7 p.m., the Memorial Park Movie Series will present Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl at the Tybee Island Gym. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 per person, with children under 3 admitted free.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. the Thieves Market & Feast will be held at the South Beach parking lot. There will be arts and crafts, grog and grub and live entertainment, with the Train Wrecks at 3:30 p.m., The 8 Tracks at 6 p.m. and Mother’s Finest at 8:30 p.m.
Children’s activities will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Tybee Pier & Pavilion. All activities are free.
A highlight of the festival is sure to be the Pirates Parade at 3 p.m. The parade will begin at the curve on U.S. Highway 80 and travel down Butler Avenue to Tybrisa Street, where it will end in front of the Thieves Market. A pirate costume contest will begin at 5 p.m. There are categories for children and adults, and prizes will be awarded.
On Sunday, the Thieves Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live music will be provided from noon to 5 p.m. by Roy and The Circuit Breakers, Randy “Hatman” Smith and The Tybee All Stars.
There also will be a scavenger hunt for adults with a $200 cash prize at 2 p.m. Meet at the Thieves Market Stage to receive a list. Participants must be 18 or older.
The Tybee Island Pirate Festival is put on by TybeeFest, a non-profit group of volunteers who organize off-season events. “We were looking for a festival that was unique and fit Tybee,” says Katrina Murray, marketing director for the Tybee Island Tourism Council. “This one is quirky and fun-loving.”
Once the pirates steal the key to the city, they were literally take over the island, Murray says. “The parade will sop at City Hall and the pirates will kidnap the mayor and make him ride on their float,” she says. “We will also have Shriners, especially the pirate Shrine unit.
“Children will get goodies and trinkets,” Murray says. “One of the fun things about Tybee parades is that we can hand out stuff.”
For more information about the Tybee Island Pirate Festival, call 1-800-868-2322 or visit www.tybeepiratefest.com. ç