How Oktoberfest Miami has maintained its success

Jose Caban (left) unveils prizes to a father and his children after winning a German game. Caban, other than being in charge of tech, enjoys bringing a lively atmosphere to the event. (Ivo Caminata/SFMN).

The German-American Social Club recently hosted its annual rendition of Oktoberfest in Kendale Lakes, celebrating old German culture with a modern twist: livestreaming.

The two-weekend event, which recently concluded, is the among the longest continuously-running Oktoberfest in the United States, spanning for 62 years. With over 10,000 people attending, Oktoberfest Miami holds a special place in people’s hearts.

“The food is one of my favorite aspects,” said Juan Carlos Campos, who’s been participating as for 16 years. “I also love how family-oriented it is.”

Campos’ mother-in-law, who went for 26 years, introduced him to the festival. Though she died recently, Campos emphasized how much his family loves coming out since it reminds them of her.

Jose Caban, who oversees membership for club, is also in charge of livestreaming the event. He also videos about the various games, dances and goings-on, working about 80 hours during the two weekends. He, like all other members of the club, volunteer their time.

Born to a German and Polish mother and a Puerto Rican father, Caban said he had been more in touch with his Latin side. But in 2009, he began to play rugby at the club’s field. As the years rolled by, he became friends with members of the club and a newfound admiration for German culture.

The club’s president, Hubert Weichselbaumer, has made it a goal to provide an authentic German experience, with German food, beer, music and much more.

According to Weichselbaumer, his club decided to put their own spin on the cultural ceremony and make it enjoyable for all ages.

The Oktoberfest in Germany mostly focuses on adults. In contrast to the festival in Munich, the one in Miami (at 11919 Southwest 56th St.), despite all of its eclectic beer choices, consists of bounce houses, games, magicians and a soccer tournament.

Weichselbaumer has been president of the club for two years but he’s been involved with Oktoberfest Miami for over 20 years. In order to keep things innovative and fresh, the club has become increasingly invested in having more of a presence on social media.

He said the latest event was a huge success.

SFMN Contributor