All Things Oktoberfest 2022 in Helen, Georgia
The arrival of fall is synonymous with seasonal shifts that define gathering, grazing, and getting cozied up. For many of German descent, fall means Oktoberfest. Initially celebrated in 1810 in Munich, Germany, to mark the marriage of a prince and princess, the festival now entertains nearly six million people each year. What if you can’t travel to Germany or are not of German descent? Never fear, the same authentic experiences – even down to the architecture – found in Munich can be found stateside in the Bavarian town of Helen, Georgia. From the food and live music to keg tapping and other amusements, Helen is home to the largest and longest-running Oktoberfest in the United States (for 51 years and counting!).
The Ambience – Including Live Music – Provides the Fullest Festival Experience
Helen’s 2022 Oktoberfest is held on Thursdays – Sundays from now until October 30th in the Helen Festhalle. The Helen Festhalle is located in the center of downtown Helen. Admission is $8 on Thursdays and Fridays, $10 on Saturdays, and everyone’s favorite – free – on Sundays. One step inside the Festhalle and you will see it’s made for a good time with a dance floor, stage, beer garden, and long tables for family-style seating. From September 15th through October 30th, Don Ostrowsky and His Happy Accordion will be playing in the Bandshell from noon to 3 PM. Dance to a traditional polka, otherwise known as “oom-pah” with that iconic 2/4 beat. No matter which artist is on the stage, authentic is the theme as 90% of all music played at the Festhalle is required to be traditional German tunes. You’ll fit right in with whatever you choose to wear to the festival, whether you select your typical clothing or the traditional lederhosen for men or dirndl for women. Think of lederhosen as the equivalent of German working-class jeans back in the 1800s that now have nostalgic charm. The dirndl, complete with its apron and high-waisted skirt, could double for a Halloween costume later in fall. Besides, how can you not smile when you walk past someone in lederhosen?
Savor Authentic Food (and Don’t Forget the Beer!)
Even if you have never celebrated Oktoberfest before, chances are you’re still familiar with the traditional German fare served during the festival. Indulge in wurst, sauerkraut, red cabbage, and leberkase. A plentiful selection of beer from the motherland is also highlighted and will get you in just the right mood to bop to the live music, maybe even on the dance floor. Wine and soft drinks are also offered, on the off-chance that someone in your crew is not down with Bavarian-style beer (or simply needs a break before another round). Just be prepared to show your ID to imbibe as Oktoberfest is open to all ages.
Keg Tapping is a Must
Did you ever tap a keg in your younger years? Even if you did, those memories will become child’s play in comparison to the Keg Tapping Celebrations at Helen’s Oktoberfest. From now until October 8th, each weekend brings epic Keg Tapping celebrations in this slice of Bavarian paradise. For just $10, partake in the ritual as you make rotating stops into Helen’s best spots to toast the occasion. Try a dark beer like Schwarzbier at Big Daddy’s, or sample a Dunkel, delicious brew made in Munich, at The Heidelberg. Steep yourself in tradition as you listen to a few celebratory words before joining the crowd in a chant as the keg is tapped and you enjoy a fresh brew.
If you can’t get enough of Oktoberfest after you leave the Festhalle, there are ten restaurants in the two square miles of downtown Helen to continue to savor German fare and flair. Shops in the area will also be offering Oktoberfest specials in a lively atmosphere. Oktoberfest is the highlight of the year in Helen and the afterglow of the festival makes the town even more jovial, regardless of the date on the calendar. If this is your first year to partake in Helen’s Oktoberfest, be prepared to fall in love with the camaraderie and spirit of this quaint Bavarian town as you merrily sip, sample, and shimmy.
Check out www.HelenChamber.com for more information on Oktoberfest schedules, entry fees, and more. To discover the perfect place to facilitate all your Oktoberfest experience, be sure to check out Helen’s lovely lodging options here.