Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest

The 9th annual Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest will be held at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18. The event actually begins at the nearby Leinenkugel Brewery at noon on Friday, with introductions and a kick-off parade — led by a horse-drawn beer wagon — to the Fairgrounds where the ceremonial tapping of the Golden Keg takes place at each of the 3 main outdoor stages.

The Oktoberfest grounds themselves are open Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Sunday starting time accommodates a Polka Ecumenical Celebration at 10:30 featuring the band Squeezebox.

Altogether, there are over 25 different performing groups from the Upper Midwest providing simultaneous entertainment on four stages, including one inside the Family Fun Building where German heritage displays are also located. In addition to a variety of musical performing groups, the entertainment includes demonstrations of traditional folk instruments, dance lessons and German dance groups, on-grounds parades Friday and Saturday, and a sheepshead and euchre tournament on Saturday.

A range of authentic German and German-American foods is available from 17 different vendors. In addition to the expected bratwurst and sauerkraut, there are numerous other items to feast upon, including sauerbraten, spanferkel (roast suckling pig), grilled chicken, other sausage and German meat dishes, larger potato dumplings and smaller spƤtzle (flour dumplings) with gravy, strudels and other desserts, large German pretzels, and other snacks such as roasted nuts and Oktoberfest ice cream. Beer, wine, flavored coffees, and other non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

This is a family-friendly event, with lots of activities for children, too. These include an ethnic costume contest, an outdoor jumping castle, clowns, jugglers, a kite-making workshop on Sunday, and other attractions. A Souvenir-Haus is also available for purchasing clothing, beersteins, and other collectables.

Sunday also features a German Auto Show with German vehicles from Wisconsin and Minnesota car clubs. Friday and Saturday novelties include the ever-popular sauerkraut-eating contests. There also opportunities to meet the Oktoberfest dignitaries from each year of the event.

Admission for all three days is $15 with a daily admission cost of $8. On Friday and Saturday all children under 12 are admitted free with a paid adult and on Sunday all kids are admitted free with a paid adult. Daily on-grounds parking is $5.

For more details and additional information, including photos from previous Chippewa Falls Oktoberfests, visit