The Seventh Annual Boktoberfest Plant Sale & Festival has grown to be a two-day event, taking place Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bok Tower Gardens.
Boktoberfest Plant Sale & Festival marks the start of Florida’s gardening season, and admission and parking are free both days. Members of the Gardens get a sneak peek and opportunity to purchase plants Friday, October 16 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Forty-five (45) 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. Garden art, bird feeders, stained glass, pottery, wind chimes, lawn ornaments and other garden accessories are also available.
Educational vendors will be on hand from Archbold Biological Station, the Florida Forest Service, Lake Kissimmee State Park, Lake Wales Public Library, Lake Wales Museum and Cultural Center, Pine Lily Native Plant Society, and Tails of the Wild.
“Boktoberfest is Bok Tower Gardens’ signature fall, community event, and now it’s our largest, free WEEKEND of the year. We’re offering two days to celebrate the best of what Bok Tower Gardens has to offer – plants, nature and gardening with music, food and fun for all ages,” explains Jennifer Beam, Director of Visitor Services and Programs. “We’ve gathered more plant vendors, increased our food menu, and hired new bands for the weekend. Most importantly, we’ve improved our parking by partnering with Lake Wales High School to offer a new satellite parking location, so everyone can relax and take the Satellite Parking Bus into the Gardens. It’s going to be a great weekend!”
Attendance at last year’s event exceeded 10,000 visitors.
The schedule of GUEST SPEAKERS on Saturday, October 17 is as follows:
- 10 a.m. Dr. Reed Bowman, Archbold Biological Station — “Going Nuts: Oaks, Acorns and the Florida Scrub Jay”
- 11 a.m. Dr. George Fitzpatrick, Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center — “Palms of Florida”
- 12 noon Jeff Klinkenberg, Tampa Bay Times columnist (ret.) — “Alligators in Florida Culture”
- 1 p.m. Tom MacCubbin, Radio Host and Author — “Fall Gardening My Way”
- 2 p.m. Anne Yasalonis, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Coordinator —“Gardening for Wildlife”
- 3 p.m. Edmund F. Measom, Adjunct Professor, UCF — “How Your Beer is Made”
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 Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the Southern Express Bluegrass Band, a cross between a hard-driving bluegrass concert and an entertaining dinner show. Back by popular demand at 12 noon Saturday is the Jimmy and Eckhard German Oktoberfest Show, a lederhosen ensemble performing authentic German music with sing-alongs, traditional "Ein Prosit" toast, birdie dance, polkas, waltzes and comedy.
On Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Bill Schoenfeldt and the Swinging Bavarians play all the traditional songs of the Oktoberfest season, complete with authentic Bavarian attire and props. At 3 p.m. both days is Alpine Express, a group of Central Florida musicians providing fun audience participation and Prosits. Also at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days, Geert D’hollander will perform live half-hour concerts on the 60-bell Singing Tower carillon.
The Gardens’ Blue Palmetto Café will prepare AUTHENTIC GERMAN FOOD including bratwursts with beer onion relish, Reuben sandwiches, German potato salad, hot dogs, kraut dogs, and fresh homemade desserts. 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 craft and seasonal 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 pumpkin painting, canvas art, scarecrow photos, face painting and more. Pathfinder Outdoor Education once again leads Family Tree Climbing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $15 per person ages 6 and up. Juggles the Clown performs at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
A SILENT AUCTION benefiting the Gardens features dozens of unique items to bid on including rounds of golf, Walt Disney World Park Hoppers, Twelve Hours of Sebring tickets, Universal Studios Park Hoppers, Sea World and Aquatica tickets, Tampa Bay Rays signature items, Florida Aquarium tickets, gift baskets, artwork, jewelry, gift certificates, a tour of the Singing Tower, and a private dinner for eight at Historic Pinewood Estate.
FREE SATELLITE PARKING will be provided by Lake Wales High School (Sat. & Sun.) and IMPACT Church (Sun.) A Satellite Parking Bus will be available throughout the day, and carpooling is strongly recommended.
For MORE INFORMATION, visit boktoberfest.com or call 863-676-1408.
Event SPONSORS include Winter Haven Honda and Visit Central Florida. Media partners include Bright House Networks, Sun Newspapers, WEDU, Ledger Media Group, WPCV 97 Country, WWRZ Max 98.3-FM, 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.