German tradition hits Texas coast for a cause

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MICHAEL BRODE 
@michaelbrode

Every year, visitors and locals alike make their way to the 300 Block of Chaparral Street in downtown Corpus Christi for a coastal take on the long-time German tradition Oktoberfest.

Surftoberfest, Corpus Christi’s annual one-day German-inspired festival, has now become the major fund raising source for the Texas Surf Museum. Event creator Liz McCampbell, said the past two years of the festival were a learning process. “There were a lot of aspects and I thought ‘this might be a stretch, this “Surftoberfest”’ but the more you dig into it, there’s many aspects that really just work with the brand,” McCampbell said.

After three years of successful operation, Surftoberfest now draws in thousands of visitors and brings more attention to the Texas Surf Museum than ever before. “It’s Surf Club’s biggest day of the year and I’ve never seen as many people in the museum as this year, so that was awesome,” McCampbell said.

This year is the first Surftoberfest that has been used as a Surf Museum fundraiser, something McCampbell said was the plan from the event’s inception. “We really focused on making that brand a thing and then when we got to the third year where we felt good about it and it was steady and easier to manage,” McCampbell said. “Then we decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to and move the direction of it being our main fundraiser. It made sense just to switch it over and make sure it benefited the museum.”

Although McCampbell considers it uncharted waters in terms of a fundraiser, she said she is confident Surftoberfest was the way to annually bring in the money needed to keep the museum free and open to the public every day. McCampbell said she believes that in addition to the benefits for the museum, Surftoberfest will help build the community and draw the people of Corpus Christi downtown. “None of us like money, you know how surfers are,” senior environmental science major and Texas Surf Museum employee Emily Shapiro said. “We try to be worry free and money can be very worrisome.”

McCampbell remains confident her creation will only get better.

“Every year you tweak things and we won’t have it down pat until probably the fifth year because there are so many moving parts and different elements to the whole [festival] but we’re getting close,” McCampbell said.

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