Dig out those lederhosen and dirndls—and be sure to bring an appetite for plenty of authentic German fare and beer—because the annual Oktoberfest celebration returns to Oakland Park’s Jaco Pastorius Park, Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6.
In just eight years, the two-day festival, sponsored by Oakland Park Main Street, has grown into the largest Oktoberfest in Broward County, attracting nearly 10,000 revelers.
The biggest difference between Oakland Park’s festival and others held around the region is “it’s the only one that’s authentic,” says Siegi Constantine, Executive Director of Oakland Park Main Street, a native of Stuttgart, Germany.
Constantine has kept a watchful eye over all the details: The food tent serves authentic German favorites, schnitzels, sausages, sauerkraut and salads, all painstaking prepared by Hans Huber of The Ambry Restaurant, a local favorite for more than three decades. The Tucher Oktoberfest beer is also imported from Germany—brewed from the same secret recipes passed down from generation to generation. And, for the first time, guests will have the opportunity to try a variety of schnapps, the tasty flavored liquor that originated in Germany.
Like the original Oktoberfest, held in 1810 outside Munich, Bavaria, the festival will kick off with the traditional keg-tapping ceremony. In the early years, the Oktoberfest celebration in Bavaria included agricultural displays and later carnival booths and rides. Today, it’s a huge celebration attracting hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists alike.
Like its German cousin, Oakland Park Main Street’s Oktoberfest has plenty to offer: Local craftsmen and women will sell their creations. Vintage Volkswagen automobiles owned by local collectors will be on display. There will also be carnival rides and plenty of surprises. Be sure to sign up for the stein and beer barrel races and say hello to Miss Hooters International, who will be making appearances.
By far, the most popular event is the dachshund race. Dozens of little “hot dogs” will race along a course to the cheers of the crowd. Only one dashing dachshund will take the top prize, but all the pups are winners.
What is Oktoberfest without music? Once again, the popular band, Alpine Express, will take the stage each evening to set a festive mood with authentic rhythms and melodies.
“One of the goals of Oakland Park Main Street is to work with the city to promote the business district and create a sense of community downtown,” said Jason Hagopian, President of Oakland Park Main Street. “Oktoberfest is a fun opportunity for our friends and neighbors to gather and celebrate our community.”
The festival would not have been possible, emphasized Hagopian, without the generous support from the many supporters, including this year’s presenting sponsors, Lipton Toyota and Broward Health Imperial Point.
If you go: Oakland Park Oktoberfest Friday, Oct. 5, 5 – 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 1 – 11 p.m. Jaco Pastorius Park (4000 N Dixie Hwy) $5 donation at the gate, Onsite parking $10 Ample free parking nearby, Free shuttle.