The first year that Legacy Hall threw its Oktoberfeast, in 2018, it was a bombshell, three day event in the Box Garden. There was a lineup of different German bands every day, activities like Steinholding competitions, flower crowns, and face painting—and huge plates of German fare courtesy of Degenhardt’s Brat Haus.
At first, it seemed that Oktoberfeast 2020 would be another COVID-19 casualty, but Cari Hallman, a senior member of the marketing team with Legacy Hall, says that they just couldn’t imagine not having it.
“The team got together, and talked it through: how can we make this work in a way that people will be comfortable and we can keep some of the same elements from years before, but do it differently? I can’t believe it’s Saturday,” Hallman says.
It wasn’t an easy decision. But Legacy Hall will host their third annual Oktoberfeast on September 26, complete with traditional live German band performance, steinholding competitions, German fare and beer. Safety is a number one priority, so guests will be divided into two time slots, available by reservation only. Tickets are required, and they’re going fast.
Degenhardt’s Brat Haus will be doing a pop-up in the Box Garden, serving German bratwurst and jumbo soft German pretzels, and a limited-time-only plate with warm German potato salad and haus special purple cabbage. Beer-lovers can purchase a limited edition, souvenir beer stein for $8 (or $15 with beer).
“We didn’t want to take away from the aspects people loved most like stein holding competition,” Hallman says. “It’s so comical to see people hoisting up these steins as long as they can—we have got some major athletes in Plano, I had no idea.”
During each reservation time slot, there will be a male and a female stein-holding competition. Winners will receive Samuel Adams Octoberfest swag and a brat from Degenhardt’s Brat Haus.
Events are smaller these days than they were in the past. Legacy Hall has limited table sizes, and is cautious about making sure tables are six feet apart. But, Hallman says that people are hungry for a sense of normal life. All staff and vendors are required to wear a mask while in the building, and team members who interact directly with guests are required to wear gloves that are changed often. Additionally, hand sanitizing stations have been placed at all doors to be used by guests and staff. When it comes to dining, single use wrapped plastic ware and condiments will be provided and all counters and tables will be thoroughly sanitized after each use.
In a pandemic, a food hall has adjustments to make that a single restaurant doesn’t. A food hall is an inherently in-person experience. Legacy Hall was built for groups of people to come in, wander the stalls, stand shoulder to shoulder in line with strangers, and gather at a table with friends. When the shutdown started, Legacy Hall didn’t have online ordering.
“We quickly jumped on online ordering to all the restaurants in the hall, and got everyone set up on Grubhub and Ubereats,” Hallman says. They changed their internal ordering systems to allow for pick up and grab and go and now there are QR codes on every table so that guests can wander virtually, make their selections and wait for their food at their table, rather than milling in line.
All of their eateries were enthusiastic about their new systems. At its heart, Legacy Hall is a place of experiential discovery. They were ready to embrace change.
“Everyone in industry is testing and learning and evolving. We’re all trying to figure it out,” Hallman says. “We’ve seen such an incredible response from our guests. We’re so humbled by the community here. This is what we love doing. We love being a destination for our guests.”
Reservation Slot 1
- 3-5 p.m. – Alpine Village Band
- 5:30 p.m. – Samuel Adams Steinholding Competition
Reservation Slot 2
- 7:30 p.m. – Samuel Adams Steinholding Competition
- 8:30-10 p.m. – Czech and Then Some