It’s a tale as old as time: you’ve been going so hard with your chugging training that you forgot to buy plane tickets to Germany. While the Munich Oktoberfest is the undisputed king of Bavarian-centric folk festivals, sometimes you just can’t make it all the way across the pond—whichever pond that may be for you. However, for those in the U.S., Oktoberfest celebrations are a dime a drunk dozen. One such festival is Oktoberfest Chicago.
Oktoberfest in Chicago began almost two decades ago as a small celebration in a parking lot, the way most parties centred around beer tend to. Today, it takes place in that same parking lot… plus the neighbouring three streets, spilling out all over Chicago’s West Lakeview neighbourhood.
Oktoberfest Chicago: When, where & how much?
Oktoberfest Chicago takes place this year as it always has, at the St. Alphonsus Church at 1429 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s West Lakeview area. It occurs the last weekend of September (in true Oktoberfest fashion) and goes from 5-10 pm on Friday, 11 am – 10 pm on Saturday, and 11 am – 7 pm on Sunday.
Friday admission to Oktoberfest Chicago is $10; Saturday admission is $5, then $10 after 5 pm (read this before you start drinking, obviously); Sunday admission is $5; and admission is totally free for anyone with a military ID (plus his/her guest). Or, take it up a notch (the only way Oktoberfesters know how) and sign up for the VIP Brewmaster Package that gets you all sorts of goodies.
What to expect at the Chicago Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest in Chicago has all the greatness of a Bavarian beer festival: brats, brews, brezn (the German word for pretzel that totally fits here). There will be trachten and toasts and Gemütlichkeit galore. There will be live entertainment on two stages featuring tons of local bands and polka, polka, polka—so obviously there will also be a ton of folks making complete fools of themselves on the dance floor. Isn’t Oktoberfest the best?
Special Events at Oktoberfest Chicago
Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Oktoberfest Chicago are all about the young ones, AKA the future beer drinkers of America. Kids Kinderfest lasts from 11 am – 4 pm and featured a buncha kid-centric activities including face painting, arts and crafts, and polka dance parties, naturally.
But one of the most popular events at the Chicago festival is the craft beer tastings that take place Friday and Saturday nights. For $50 you get 20 craft beer samples (with 40 to choose from), a pretzel necklace (whether this is metal or like, a necklace made from actual, edible pretzels, I’m not positive. Please advise.), and included Oktoberfest Chicago festival admission. These tastings take place inside the St. Alphonsus Church’s German Beer Hall (the most religious of all the church rooms, no?) and include both American craft samples and European Specialties.
For more information on Oktoberfest Chicago check out their website here, and remember to let us know about those pretzel necklaces!