Since 1810, millions of people have gathered in Munich, Bavaria, Germany every year for the world’s largest beer and fun festival, Oktoberfest. Not only is a lot of beer consumed during this 16-18 day event, but attendees enjoy attractions like amusement rides, games and a wide array of food. Because so many enjoy Oktoberfest, similar events have become annual traditions for cities all over the world.
While just a two-day event, our area will celebrate its 8th annual Oktoberfest Oct. 7-8 in downtown Fargo. Of course, a large variety of beer will be offered, but there will also be exciting things for people of all ages.
“It doesn’t matter your age, there are activities for everyone,” said Jessica Benson, Director of Sales for Radio FM Media, who puts on the event. “We really like the idea of creating an event around the fall season, and around our downtown.”
Oktoberfest begins Friday, October 7th at Old Broadway for the official “Tapping of the Keg” at 4:30 p.m. There will be beer and brat sampling from 5-7 p.m., followed by live music with Johnny Vegas.
A fun-filled day is in store for Saturday, so be sure to rise early for Kegs & Cakes at the Pickled Parrot, beginning at 10 a.m. From there, the Oktoberfest Pub Crawl begins. A highlight for many, the crawl involves strolling to and from the many participating bars and pubs, enjoying a wide array of beer from around the world. Traditional German costumes are not necessary, but are highly encouraged. Start at any of the eight participating Pub Crawl locations to receive your passport and mug. Once your passport is full, turn it in at The Old Broadway to receive your medal of achievement.
If you’re not interested in “crawling,” don’t fear. The schedule packs in a number of events for the whole family. A bean bag tournament, Games to Go inflatables, and the Root Beer Fest will provide entertainment. At 2 p.m., check out the cute canines during the Running of the Wieners dog race. “This event always draws a crowd,” said Benson. New this year, prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. First place will receive $200 cash and $100 to Meats by John & Wayne. Second place and third place will also receive prizes.
Think you have what it takes to be the longest stein holder? Test our your muscles during the stein holding competition at Wurst Bier Hall, followed by a hot dog eating contest with a $200 cash prize for first place. Beer sampling sponsored by Shock Top – the official beer of Oktoberfest – and a parking lot party round out the activities for Saturday evening.
Benson hopes Oktoberfest will be enjoyable for everyone and hopes to work to ensure it continues. She hopes it brings the feel of a traditional German Oktoberfest, but also brings the community together for some festive fun. “The goal is to get it bigger and better each year,” she said.
For a complete listing of events and times, visit www.fargooktoberfest.com.
By Kristin Johnson