The Ultimate Guide to Addison Oktoberfest
It’s four days of beer, bratwursts and music. Here’s how to do it right.
The world’s greatest festival is quickly approaching, as Munich and fun-loving cities around the world prepare their Oktoberfest celebrations. The best and biggest Oktoberfest in Texas goes down each year in Addison, the Dallas-adjacent town that’s been slipping into lederhosen and hoisting beers for nearly four decades. It’s back in action beginning September 14. Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event, from ticketing and tents to what to eat and drink between competitive dachshund races and stein holding contests.
Addison Oktoberfest 411
The first Addison Oktoberfest kicked off in 1987. Much like DFW, it’s grown a lot since then. This year’s event is September 14 to 17 — the opening date coincides with the start of Munich’s festival — and once again takes place in Addison Circle Park. Organizers expect 50,000 visitors during four days.
There will be food, drinks and music everywhere you look (hope you like polka), plus various events each day. So, if you want to see tiny dogs compete in a low-stakes race, that can be arranged. There’s also the Marktplatz, selling a variety of German and not-German gifts, and areas sectioned off for families and kids who may be less enthusiastic about clinking steins with glassy-eyed strangers.
Gates open at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and the party starts at noon Saturday and Sunday. All the usual festival rules apply: drink water, wear sunscreen, be nice.
Tickets and Tents
You’ve got several options for attending this year. If you want to save some cash, admission is free on Thursday and Sunday, so that’s an easy choice. But Friday and Saturday admission is only $10, so it’s still a deal. You can also augment your attendance with a hotel package and stay for the weekend. In that case, you’ll get special rates at more than a dozen participating hotels, two single-day general admission tickets to the festival, plus two commemorative beer steins, lapel pins and Paulaner beers.
Regardless of your lodging situation, if you treat Oktoberfest like a national sport, then you’ll want to reserve a table inside the main tent. The Partyhalle is 30,000 square feet with its own stage and dance floor, so you can learn traditional Bavarian folk dances or show everyone your interpretive chicken dance. Tables seat eight people and come with eight single-day tickets, commemorative beer steins and Paulaner beers. You also get access to a private bar, so you can keep those steins filled throughout the day. Reserving a table ensures shade, a seat and a place to stockpile sausages, which are all prime factors in thriving — not merely surviving — from open until close.
What to Eat and Drink
This is where you can really shine. Addison Oktoberfest is flush with vendors selling foods that nod to both German and Texas heritage. A few favorites include Kaffee und Kuchen (German pastries, cakes and coffee), Munich Brat Haus (smoked bratwursts and cheesy pretzel bites) and Spätzlehaus, which has all the spätzle, latkes and jumbo pretzels you need to keep going. Dog Haus Biergarten is on site with brats, cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries, while CornDog with No Name leans into state fair-like classics — think corn dogs, funnel cakes and fried Oreos. That’s just a small sampling of what’s available, so make the rounds and load up on a little bit of everything.
The Draught Haus Biergarten has its own menu of hearty food, plus beers and wines, and it has TVs for catching your favorite college and pro teams. Kleinhalle is an indoor spot (never pass up a chance for air conditioning) with additional food options — try the Reuben Tater Kegs — drinks and a stage for music.
Beer booths, which stay true to the festival’s roots, are stashed throughout the grounds and are always ready to pour you a fresh stein. Paulaner is one of six Munich breweries authorized to sell beer at the original Oktoberfest in the German capital, and they’re the featured beer in Addison. Choose from six different Paulaner brews: Oktoberfest Bier, Oktoberfest Märzen, Hefeweizen, Grapefruit Radler, Pilsner (only available inside Kleinhalle) and the nonalcoholic Weizen-Radler.
Music, Dachshund Races and Other Fun
Dozens of polka bands and other entertainers will provide continuous entertainment on multiple stages throughout the festival, so you’ll never be far from an accordion. Traditional German dancers will perform on the Partyhalle and Kleinhalle stages in-between musical shows. And this year, the German song and dance will be supplemented with a Texan twist via Squeezebox Bandits. The band plays honky-tonk country with a Tejano twang, which sounds a little like polka, so they fit right in. There will also be keg-tapping events, barrel rolling races, the Dachshund Dash and Masskrugstemmen contests, in which competitors hold a one-liter stein of beer at shoulder level for as long as they can.
New this year, the kids’ area is expanding from a tent to its own garden, naturally dubbed Kidsgarten, and it will feature crafts, games, a Mini Masskrug (wherein kids can test their arm strength) and a Root Biergarten. Teens might like the Partyplatz, an open green space with retro arcade games, oversized lawn games and a silent disco.
As you stroll the grounds, you may notice lots of people in costume — not just the performers and staff, but also plenty of attendees. So, if you’re open to playing dress-up this year, don your finest dirndl or lederhosen before you head out to the park. Oktoberfest is basically like the beer drinker’s Comic Con.
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