In Ottawa, IL, Oktoberfest is more than beer and brats, however. The event, which runs Sept. 18–20, will feature live music, a craft fair and even activities for kids. Located at the Jordan Block in downtown Ottawa, this year’s Oktoberfest weekend will be one to remember.
Oktoberfest kicks off Friday night with the traditional “Tapping of the Keg,” where the first barrel of beer is opened and the festivities can begin. The food tent and beer garden open immediately after the tapping at 5 p.m., and live music will begin at 8 p.m.
Many more attractions are planned for Saturday, starting with the Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk in the morning. The rest of the festivities will start at noon, including the first live music performance and the Court Street Craft Market where local merchants can show off their creations. From 2–5 p.m., the KidZ Block will be open with free activities for the young ones, including face painting, a petting zoo, arts and crafts stations, train rides and bouncy houses. The main attraction, the beer garden, will be open from noon to 9 p.m., and the food tent will be open noon to 11 p.m. Live music is also available throughout the day until 11 p.m.
Sunday will also feature beer, food, music and the Court Street Craft Market, but a couple of new events have also been added. People can attend an Oktoberfest Mass at 11 a.m. before starting off their day of beer and brats, or they can enjoy the breakfast and Bloody Mary bar which also begins at 11 a.m. Following both events, the beer garden and food tent will open again for people to get their final taste of Oktoberfest merriment.
Oktoberfest isn’t just a good reason to enjoy great German beers and food. It’s also a way to help the Ottawa community. The event is a fundraiser hosted by Ottawa First, the nonprofit organization that raises money for Ottawa’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, which is recognized as one of the largest in central Illinois. Proceeds made from Oktoberfest tickets and events will go toward next year’s fireworks show. In the past, Oktoberfest has raised an average of $5,000 per year for the Fourth of July fireworks.
Celebrate fall, enjoy German food and drink, and give back to the Ottawa community by spending some time at this year’s Oktoberfest. Beer-tasting tickets and commemorative beer steins can be purchased here.