Oktobenefest To Raise Funds For St. Susan Center

LAKEWOOD – Few things can beat an afternoon of great beer, food and music, especially when it’s all for a good cause.

The sixth annual Oktobenefest is scheduled, rain or shine, for Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. at Southern Tier Brewing Company, 2072 Stoneman Circle in Lakewood. All proceeds are donated to St. Susan Center, Jamestown’s soup kitchen.

“This event is a huge help,” said Sue Colwell, executive director of St. Susan Center. “We’re only here for the community because of the community. We count on this.”

For $3 a beer and $3 a bratwurst, guests get to enjoy live music, the unique atmosphere offered at Southern Tier Brewing Company and the opportunity to rally behind an important cause. The food is provided by Farm Fresh Foods. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

“Being at this event is a no brainer,” said Dan Vogan, this year’s musical guest. “It’s for a good cause and St. Susan Center are good people.”

Vogan, a bluegrass and southern rock artist from Bemus Point, has opened for such acts as Poco, Pure Prairie League, Vince Gill and Earl Scruggs, delighting crowds with 5-string banjo, acoustic, electric and even lap steel guitar performances.

“St. Susan Center is a great public service, and I’m happy to help them out,” Vogan said.

St. Susan Center has seen a rising demand for services over the years, serving more than 98,000 meals last year and potentially more than 100,000 this year. Its new “Breakfast Tomorrow” program, which provides breakfast meals to kids during the summer, has served more than 2,000 meals in July and August.

“The economy has definitely had an impact,” Colwell said. “More people are coming in, and our meals are up. The Oktobenefest is a fun and reasonable fundraiser that makes a big difference to us.”

Southern Tier Brewing Company has seen a growing popularity of the fundraiser, with nearly 100 attendees in its first year to more than 500 last year.

“The event has created a really good following,” said Sara DeMink, vice president of Southern Tier Brewing Company. “It’s become a really fun way for everyone to come to Southern Tier and give back to the community.”

St. Susan Center serves meals to a diverse client base that extends beyond the unemployed and homeless to include young parents, teens, seniors, children and people who are challenged physically, mentally or emotionally. Additional information is available by calling St. Susan Center at 664-2253 and at www.stsusancenter.org. St. Susan Center is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to feeding the hungry. Driving directions and other information regarding Southern Tier Brewing are available at www.stbcbeer.com.