“With all of our seasonal events, we make sure to always have several nights built-in that honor and recognize the LGBTQ community,” says Brandon Bayton of Wunder Garten. For its 7th annual Oktoberfest, a month-long promotion that commenced last weekend, NoMa’s German-inspired beer garden is bringing back PRIDEtoberfest, in partnership with the Capital Pride Alliance and Metro Weekly.
On the last Thursday in September and first Thursday in October, Wunder Garten features a series of events specifically geared toward the LGBTQ community, including happy hours sponsored by Guinness Blonde and a mix of evening entertainment hosted by drag performer Crystal Edge.
“She’s bringing in a number of guest performers and incorporating them in a combination of drag bingo/trivia/truth or dare,” says Bayton, who always opts “for ‘truth’ with any drag performer, just to be on the safe side.” India Larelle Houston will assist Edge as co-host on Sept. 30, with Christiania Doll, Alexa V. Shontelle, and Labella Maria as special guests. On Oct. 7, Druex Sidora will be a special guest along with Shontelle and co-host Katrina Colby. DJ Tezrah will spin both evenings.
“We’ve also included a vendors market of artists and creators, five or six on site for each event,” Bayton says. Works by Scott Clarke, John Sauerhoff, and Andrea Wheeler will be featured both Thursdays of PRIDEtoberfest, with Isabella Evangelista, Kristen Jeffers, and Sarah Turner represented on Sept. 30, and Kim Sandra and Tekla Taylor on Oct. 7.
Naturally, members of the LGBTQ community can attend any and all Oktoberfest events at the gay-owned Wunder Garten. Daily specials through Oct. 10 include classic Märzen-style beers Spaten and Weihenstephan on tap, alongside seasonal brews from Red Bear, Port City, Left Hand, and Devil’s Backbone. German-inspired food offerings from “on-site vendors” Swizzler and La Buena Empanada will be on hand, with additional options from German restaurant Café Berlin every Friday.
Oktoberfest weekend programming includes performances by local bands, DJs spinning dance parties, and games and contests a la “Bavarian Olympics” with prizes including a three-hour cabana rental and a $100 drink tab. Prizes will also be awarded to the most festively dressed guests.
“Whoever wants to wear dirndl or lederhosen, we don’t put any stipulation on which sex or gender has to wear which,” Bayton says. After all, men can wear dirndls and be called ‘frauleins’ at Wunder Garten. “[We use] a very loose interpretation of the word.”
PRIDEtoberfest is Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, from 4 to 11 p.m., and Oktoberfest runs daily through Oct. 10. Wunder Garten is at 1101 First St. NE. Visit www.wundergartendc.com.
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