In light of the upcoming 18th Charlotte Oktoberfest, we sat down with a regular volunteer to get the scoop on what it’s like to work with the festival. Here’s what we learned from Mr. Bill Lynch.
CharlotteFive: When did you first start working with the Charlotte Oktoberfest?
Bill Lynch: I’ve been working as a volunteer at the Charlotte Oktoberfest since 1999. I’ve served a few positions, from working the front gate to security (and most recently as a beer-pourer for breweries that need assistance). I’ve been team captain a few times, where I’d have a small staff … reporting to me.
C5: What drew you into volunteering for the Charlotte Oktoberfest originally?
BL: I have enjoyed ‘craft beer’ long before it was fashionable and really thought that the original purpose of the festival, to make the public aware of craft beer, was a worthy endeavor.
C5: Have you worked with or attended other festivals like this, and if so, how is the Charlotte one different?
BL: I’ve attended a good number of festivals and found them, for the most part, to be well run and organized. I gravitate towards festivals that have a local beer presence. The Charlotte Oktoberfest has grown over the years to be a highly regarded festival especially in the eyes of the brewers who we feel deserve the royal treatment. They are, after all, donating their time and energy to allow people to sample their products and we’ve always kept that first and foremost.
C5: The Charlotte Oktoberfest is heavily involved in the community, especially through donations of its revenue. How has this made a personal impact on your life?
BL: I am very proud to be part of a group of pure volunteers that has raised [more than $600,000] over the years for local charities, a group that puts the brewers first. And to be part of [Carolina BrewMasters, which] was voted Homebrew Club of the Year in the inaugural Radagast Award, presented to us at the 2014 National Homebrewer’s Conference.
C5: What keeps you coming back to the festival year after year?
BL: I am looking to support the Carolina BrewMasters as much as possible and my participation as a volunteer along with other activities provided by the club allows me to give back to … some of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
To learn more about Charlotte Oktoberfest, and to get tickets, check out the official website.