Does it seem weird to anyone else that Oktoberfest starts in September? I mean, the Germans do it, too, to take advantage of better weather, but it always struck me as odd.
When it starts doesn’t matter so much as that is starts, though, and this Friday (Sept. 7) is the start of a new Oklahoma Oktoberfest tradition: Midtown Oktoberfest.
Unlike the German Oktoberfest, which lasts a little over two weeks, the new Midtown version is packed into three days of beer, food, beer, live entertainment, beer and beer on the Midtown Lawn at 10th and Hudson Avenue, just across the street from Fassler Hall.
The impetus (other than having a good time) came from the short-lived closing of Old Germany in Choctaw, said Fassler OKC general manager T.J. Bennett.
“When we thought Choctaw wasn’t going to do theirs, when Mike Turek said Old Germany was closing, a lot of the beer vendors who worked with them came to us,” he said.
While the passing of Old Germany to new owners has revived a smaller Oktoberfest in Choctaw, Fassler still decided to take up the mantle and create their own even in Midtown.
“We’ve been planning since early May,” Bennett said. That includes getting a 9,000-square-foot tent to erect on the lawn, preparing outdoor kitchens to serve ravenous partygoers and lining up a lot of beer. A lot.
Guys, seriously, there’s going to be a lot of beer.
Midtown Oktoberfest sponsor Capital Distributing has about 800 kegs on back stock to make sure the taps don’t run dry, Bennett said.
“We’re going to have 15 German styles of beer and another 15 kinds to cover everybody else,” he said. “We’re thinking we might get 1,500-3,000 visitors a day, based on H&8th numbers.”
Beers available in the tent include:
Konig Ludwig Dunkelweisse
Sam Adams Oktoberfest
Sam Adams 76'
Angry Orchard Rose'
Shiner Light Blonde
Santa Fe Oktoberfest
Santa Fe Freestyle Pils
Lagunitas Czech Pils
Rogue Dead Guy Maibock
New Belgium Fattire
Dogfish Head Seaquench
Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
Months of planning and prepping tons of their house-made bratwursts, jalapeno-cheddar sausages and hunter sausages (made with pork, venison and buffalo) is stressful for organizers, but it ought to ease concerns for folks worried about a first-year event.
“We’re definitely trying to think of everything,” he said. “It’s a free event, but we’ll have ATMs, as well as OCPD helping support. We’ve blocked off a section for rideshare, as well, to ensure people can come and go safely.”
If sausage isn’t your thing, there will also be schnitzel sandwiches, turkey legs, hot pretzels and more.
“We’re trying to keep it easy, keep it simple and keep it authentic,” Bennett said.
While the food and beer are the main draws for me, the three-day event will also feature live polka music and nighttime performances by The Flannels and DJ Tangerine.
Care to try your hand at some contests of skill? You can sign up for stein-hoisting competitions, sausage-eating and best-dressed contests. Maybe even all three at once.
The dates and times for Midtown Oktoberfest are:
• Friday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Patrons must be 21 with ID to enter after 8 p.m.