By Ann-Corynn Rivière
Howard University News Service
Nestled in the center of the North Massachusetts (NoMa) neighborhood in the District of Columbia, Wunder Garten is an outdoor beer garden and event space. Wunder Garten first appeared in Washington as a pop-up beer garden and quickly gained popularity in NoMa. Now, it has become a cornerstone of that community, a gathering place for friends, families and furry friends.
Boasting a wide variety of German and craft beers, as well as a carefully curated collection of wine and liquor, Wunder Garten has become a go-to for residents in the NoMa neighborhood.
For the eighth year in a row now, Wunder Garten kicks off its Oktoberfest celebrations. Oktoberfest is a German festival and traveling carnival that originated in Bavaria, Germany, as a wedding celebration. Germans were commemorating the union between Bavaria’s crown prince and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, according to historical accounts.
The event still follows the official schedule of the festival in Germany. At Wunder Garten, the Oktoberfest celebrations begin on Sept. 16 and run until the first Sunday of October.
Event manager Benjamin McEvoy says that Wunder Garten is excited for its first proper Oktoberfest since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. He says organizers are trying to stay as safe as possible while still providing the most amount of fun to their patrons.
Although Oktoberfest hosted events in-person in 2021, “they were still pretty limited.”
To curb the spread of the virus, Wunder Garten still has hand-sanitizing stations around the venue and is limiting the number of people who can enter.
“We have been staying closer to 250 and 275 (people),” McEvoy said. The maximum capacity at the venue is 350. Organizers hope these measures will help to keep people safe.
McEvoy maintains that the main reason D.C. residents keep coming back to Wunder Garten is for the sense of community and homecoming.
Wunder Garten works with the German Embassy to organize the Oktoberfest celebrations and events. “We like to work with them because they can go somewhere and feel at home,” McEvoy said.
Wunder Garten prides itself on being a little slice of Germany for both German nationals and German-Americans.
However, McEvoy says that Wunder Garten is interested in hosting events that are more geared towards the wider D.C. community.
He says that the team partners with LGBTQ organizations, and that they are hoping to work with more nonprofits in the Washington area.
They also have hopes of opening a second Wunder Garten location in the future, McEvoy says they would like to make it more of “a gathering ground for all different types of backgrounds.”
Ann-Corynn Rivière is a reporter for HUNewsService.com.