Oktoberfest is around the corner, so it’s time to look at some Oktoberfest event ideas you can use to get the party started in your local beer hall.
But there is much more to ze Germans than beer. There’ll be ample opportunity to sing and dance, enjoy live music, and participate in fun and games.
Let’s have a look at…
- What Oktoberfest is
- Cooking classes
- Oompah bands
- Dance classes
- Dress-up parties
- Brewing classes
- Pub crawls
- Beer garden parties
- Pop-up beer gardens
- Games and contests
There’ll be something for everyone…as long as they like beer and sausage.
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is a 16–18 day long folk festival held in Munich at the end of September and beginning of October.
The festivities involve copious amounts of beer and traditional German food, as well as Bavarian dances, oompah bands, and different games.
It’s an incredibly popular festival, with six million people coming from across the world to attend the festival every year.
That’s just in Munich alone.
Oktoberfest events have become a staple all over the world, much like St. Patrick’s Day events.
Ready to organise your own Oktoberfest event?
1. Bavarian cooking class
If you run a cafe, restaurant, and kitchen, you should consider setting up a cooking class where your guests can learn how to cook traditional Bavarian dishes.
Here are a few of the most common German recipes you can teach:
- Apfel Kuchen (apple cake)
- Apfel Strudel (apple strudel)
- Blaukraut (red cabbage)
- Brathandel (roast chicken)
- Brat Kartoffel (fried potatoes)
- Bratwurst, Weisswurst or Knackwurst (sausages)
- Kaese Spaetzle (cheese noodles)
- Kartoffel Salat (potato salad)
- Knoedel (dumplings)
- Obatzda (cheese spread)
- Pretzels (well…pretzels)
- Sauerkraut (sour cabbage)
- Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle)
- Steckerlfisch (grilled fish)
2. Live oompah band
If you have access to a music venue or an outdoor space, you could consider hiring a German oompah band to liven things up for your Oktoberfest event.
Here are some websites that have oompah bands for hire:
- Bierkeller Schunklers
- Champions Music & Entertainment
- Garston Entertainment
- The Bavarian Strollers
- The Bierkeller
3. Bavarian dance class
If you run a dance studio or have access to a gym, you can organise a Bavarian dance (Schuhplattler) class in the run-up to Oktoberfest.
Alternatively, you can hire a Schuhplattler dance instructor to teach your guests the basic steps so everyone can join in on the Bavarian dance floor.
Check out this video to see the Schuhplattler dance in action:
4. Oktoberfest dress-up party
Organise a dress-up party where everyone has to show up in traditional Bavarian outfits (tracht) and award a prize to the best-dressed guest or couple.
Tip: Use this guide to Oktoberfest outfits to help your guests pick the best garments.
5. Oktoberfest crafts class
If you have access to a workshop, why not organise a crafts class where your guests can create their own Oktoberfest items and decorations just in time for the party?
Here are some suggestions for items your students can make:
- Beer bottle labels
- Beer growler tote
- Bottle opener
- Wooden beer stein
…notice a pattern here?
If you want to organise a more family-friendly craft class, there are plenty of Bavarian Oktoberfest decorations you can make.
Just remember to stick to the right colour scheme. Blue and white for Bavaria. Black, red, and yellow for Germany.
6. Beer brewing class
Although Oktoberfest is more about consuming than crafting beer, there’s nothing stopping you from organising a class where you teach your students the basics of Bavarian beer brewing.
Check out some of the established beer brewing classes in the UK for inspiration:
All you have to do is put a German spin on existing classes and gefunden—you have an Oktoberfest beer brewing class.
Here are some of the most popular German beers:
- Hofbräu Oktoberfest
- Lefthand Märzen
- Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen
- Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen
- Victory FestBier
- Weihenstephaner FestBier
7. Oktoberfest pub crawl
You’ll find Oktoberfest and other German-themed pubs scattered around most major cities. Oktoberfest is the perfect occasion to organise a Bavarian pub crawl.
Here are some of the most popular German pubs in London:
Tip: Read our guide on how to organise a pub crawl to make sure it runs smoothly.
8. Beer garden party
If you happen to run a pub or have the budget to hire a decent venue, then you should put on your own Biergarten party to celebrate Oktoberfest.
Tip: Read this guide on how to organise a DIY backyard beer garden if you don’t have a venue.
9. Pop-up Biergarten
Although mostly an American phenomenon, there’s nothing stopping you from organising your own travelling Biergarten for this year’s Oktoberfest.
You can see how they’ve done it across the pond for some inspiration:
10. Oktoberfest games and contests
No Bavarian party is complete without some authentic Oktoberfest games. They are fun to begin with, but only get better the more beer you consume.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Stein-holding contest: The last person to hold their full stein up wins.
- Stein relay race: The team who completes the race and spills the least beer wins.
- Drinking song singalong: Sing “Bier Her, Bier Her” and “Bayern, Des Samma Mir”.
- Yodelling competition: You know what to do…
Tip: Find more ideas for Oktoberfest games and contests in this guide.
Now you’ve got a large arsenal of Oktoberfest event ideas at your disposal. Go forth and use your new powers to bestow an endless flow of hops, malt, barley, and wheat upon the masses.
Know of any Oktoberfest event ideas that we missed? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!