The Haile Plantation Village Center celebrated Oktoberfest recently after the event was suspended for three years due to coronavirus shutdowns.
Gainesville residents enjoyed cuisine from food trucks and Haile Plantation restaurants, live bands and children’s activities, including bounce houses.
Gerald Nanson, head of maintenance for Oktoberfest, said Haile Plantation continues to host this event because it brings Haile locals and Gainesville residents together.
He said that he thinks a lot of residents who attend consider living in Haile in the future because of the nice ambiance and restaurants they discover at the events the village center hosts.
Erica Macarthur, a Haile Plantation resident, said she has attended the event at least three times.
“I continue to come to this event because it is a fun outdoor fall event that my kids can come to with me,” Macarthur said. “I have two kids, 6 and 3 years old, that smile at the whole event.”
She said that her kids’ favorite part about the event is definitely the bounce houses. She loves how Haile hosts an event to entertain all ages.
Macarthur said she noticed many more food trucks than normal this year. She liked this addition because it provided her and her family with more options.
“I plan on attending this fun fall event with my family for a while,” she said.
Myron Miller, who owns Popadop’s Kitchen food truck, said this is his fourth time at Haile Plantation’s fall event.
He said he loves being a part of Oktoberfest, and his goal every time he comes is to help guests enjoy their Friday nights by providing quality food.
Miller said this event brings in a lot of business for the company. It also informs others about his truck.
“We have our company name and contact on business cards and the side of our truck,” Miller said. “It is important to brand ourselves when at large gatherings so that others contact us for their own events.”
Miller said he hopes the village center contacts him next year for Oktoberfest or other events happening in the village center.
Louella Suataron, general manager of Volcanic Sushi located in Haile Plantation, said the restaurant has been open for the event for the past three years, not including the years the event was canceled because of the coronavirus.
“We continue to sell food at Oktoberfest in Haile because guests are friendly, and the event offers an organized environment, which gives us business,” Suataron said. “It also helps promote our food to people who might not be familiar with our restaurant.”
Suataron said her favorite part about the event are the guests who come from the village and the rest of Gainesville.
Matthew Thompson, a Gainesville resident, said he was introduced to The Queen’s Arms Pub when he first started coming to Oktoberfest eight years ago.
“I would probably never have heard of or tried this pub if it was not for Oktoberfest,” Thompson said. “I now go to the pub regularly for their brunch, which has bottomless mimosas and a killer Bloody Mary.”
He said he really enjoyed the food trucks that were at the event as well.
Thompson said Cousins Maine Lobster food truck made fresh lobster dishes that were enjoyable and fun to try.
“I think that it is nice that this event brings in food trucks, but also highlights their own local village restaurants,” he said. “It gives the guests a lot of options to choose from.”
Nanson said that the village plans to continue to host this event every fall because of the positive turn, even after being shut down for three years.
“There was expected to be 4,000 people here,” Nanson said. “This has got to be the biggest turnout yet. People can’t even find a spot to park their cars.”
He said he hopes the same size turnout occurs again for the village’s next event, Light the Village, which is the first Friday in December. The event includes a visit from Santa Claus and the lighting of the village’s Christmas tree at the end of the night.