Cleveland’s annual Oktoberfest held at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea, Ohio over Labor Day weekend always draws huge crowds but for those Clevelanders who didn’t get their fill of German music, foods, dance and beer or who are looking for a good excuse for a weekend jaunt, check out one of Michigan’s oldest cultural events — the 26th annual Oktoberfest being held in Frankenmuth from Thursday, September 17 through Sunday, September 20.
The only Oktoberfest outside of Germany that has been sanctioned by the city of Munich, the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest will be held at the city’s Heritage Park. Historic Note: Frankenmuth, nicknamed “Little Bavaria,” was founded in 1845 as a mission colony by German Lutherans. The first Oktoberfest took place in 1990 in honor of the Berlin Wall coming down.
Most of the activities of the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest will take place at the Harvey Kern Pavilion, a scaled-down version of an authentic German beer hall which seats 500 people. German bands will be playing throughout this 4-day event and yes, the beer will be flowing. Official sponsor of the Oktoberfest is Munich-based brewer, Hofbrauhaus. The Festival’s Hofbrau beer is brewed using actual recipes handed down byWilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria and the beer is imported from the brewery in Munich, Germany. There will be plenty of dancing available on the Pavilion’s 68 foot by 60 foot wooden dance floor.
A showcase event (and a very popular one) at the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest will be the Wiener Dog Races being held on Saturday, September 19 at noon. Between 50 and 100 dachshunds are expected to be competing in various races. Prizes will be awarded. Each contestant’s human will receive two free tickets to Oktoberfest and a free gift.
Authentic German food will be abundant. A German Dinner Buffet is available ($12 per person) and includes items like bratwurst with sauerkraut, German potato salad, buttered spaetzle, Black Forest Ham & Au gratin, sweet and sour cabbage and German chocolate cake. Other food items available for purchase include frankfurters, pizza, french fries, chili, nachos, pulled pork sandwiches, homemade potato chips and Bavarian Inn pretzels.
Hours for the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest are 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Thursday, noon – midnight on Friday and Saturday and noon – 6 p.m. on Sunday, Admission is $10 for adults (Thursday – Saturday). Children 12 and under are free. Admission for everyone on Sunday is free.
For those visitors who wish to stay overnight in Frankenmuth, check out the Bavarian Inn Lodge (888-775-6343), the Drury Inn & Suites (989-652-2800), The Holiday Inn Express (989-652-8100), Springhill Suites (888-287-9400) or the Fairfield Inn (800-228-2800). Call for availability, exact pricing or to make reservations.
For more information about the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, call 800-FUN FEST or get online at www.frankenmuthfestivals.com The Oktoberfest will be held at Heritage Park located at 601 Weiss St. in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frankenmuth is approximately a 4 hour drive from Cleveland (90 miles north of Detroit off I-75 Exit 136).