By Connor Dziawura
Grab your dirndls and lederhosen, ladies and gents, as fall is upon us. And with fall upon us, you know what that means.
Every fall, various organizations across the state, country and world put their own spins on Oktoberfest, keeping the Bavarian tradition alive. Dating back to 1810, the annual event is a lively one, full of food, drink, music and traditional wear. And this year, there’s a new player in town.
Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest will create a “more authentic German experience of Oktoberfest,” says spokeswoman Jen Pruett. She expects around 750 guests.
“We wanted to create a more authentic vibe for an Oktoberfest on the smaller scale. There are so many large festivals in the Valley,” Pruett says.
The Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest is set from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 6, at CityScape.
“Our company actually produces the SanTan Brewing Company Oktoberfest, and that one is one week before this event,” Pruett says. “And it’s a bigger event, it’s more focused on music, a lot of vendors, 15,000 people come out to that one, but for a long time we’ve wanted to create a different event that was smaller, more intimate, more fun for, you know, just not a big music festival.”
Part of that authentic experience comes thanks to the food. Three main vendors will partake. Scottsdale restaurant Brat Haus will sell pretzels, while Phoenix restaurant Copper Blues will sell brats, pretzels and cheese, and food truck Eur Haus will sell schnitzel, spätzle, brats and pretzels. As of print time, other foods items and vendors serving sweets and treats have yet to be confirmed.
“Aside from the food, the other kind of highlight is the beer,” Pruett adds. “We’re going to have a variety of German beers.”
That variety includes Spaten, Zum Franziskaner, Veltins, Weihenstephan, Bitburger and SanTan Brewing Oktoberfest.
Local group Funkhaus Brass Band will keep the spirit of Oktoberfest alive with polka music all day. Also available will be themed games. Then, to top it all off, several contests will be held at night.
The first, a pretzel-eating contest, is set for 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the games will continue with a stein-holding contest. A beer maid costume contest will follow at 8 p.m., while patrons will put an end to the competitiveness by trying to down brats at 8:30 p.m. The beer maid costume contest has a $100 cash prize, while the other three contests have $50 cash prizes.
“We upped the beer maid contest prize because you have to put a little more into that,” Pruett explains. “It’s not just to show up and participate. People actually have to plan their outfits and probably purchase some things to be involved in that, so we wanted the incentive a little bit more on that one.”
Tickets include access to the festival grounds, as well as games, contests and other entertainment. Food and beverage are separate.
Keeping in tradition with other HDE Agency-produced events, some proceeds will benefit a local organization. For this one, a portion of liquor sales will go to Downtown Phoenix Inc., which has promoted the continued revitalization of downtown Phoenix alongside various community partners since its inception in 2013.
“They do a lot for the downtown Phoenix community, and since we decided to have this event in downtown Phoenix, we thought they’d be a good fit to help us with promotion and see a portion of this money going back into supporting events in the downtown Phoenix community,” Pruett explains.
Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest, CityScape, 1 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, 602-276-2499, dtphxoktoberfest.com, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 6, $10 for single tickets, $30 for a group of four, online, in advance. At the gate, single tickets are $15. The event is for those 21 and older.
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