Downers Grove community members are invited to put on their best lederhosen and nosh on schnitzel this weekend during the popular Oktoberfest event.
Sponsored by the Education Foundation of Downers Grove District 58, the ninth annual celebration is set for 3 to 11 p.m. Sept. 16 and noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 17 in the train commuter lot on Burlington Avenue between Main Street and Forest Avenue. The festival will close for 15 minutes and reopen from 6:15 to 11 p.m. Saturday for the ticketed music headliner.
“It’s a great outdoor event and a great way to kick off the fall season,” said Janet Alikpala, president of the foundation.
Some of the festivities on tap this year include live music and an authentic German polka band, a kids zone, a brat eating contest, face painting, a dunk tank and a doughnut eating contest.
There will be plenty of traditional German fare on which to feast, including knackwurst and bratwurst, Bavarian soft pretzels, chicken schnitzel with gravy, as well as German chocolate cake and apple strudel. This year’s beer selection features Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Revolution Oktoberfest, Tangled Roots Vermillion River Weiss, Hacker Pschorr and Miller Lite.
Oktoberfest admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors. Veterans and active service members get in for free with military ID, and children 17 and under are free with a paying adult. The entry fee will increase to $25 on Saturday after 6:15 p.m. for all ages. Guests may purchase an all-day Saturday ticket for $30.
One of the foundation’s primary fundraisers, the festival continues to grow in popularity.
“We’re proud of how far we’ve come in the last nine years and hope that the Downers Grove community will continue to enjoy our event for years to come,” Alikpala said.
New for this year’s Oktoberfest is the Saturday night headliner, the Freddy Jones Band from Chicago, which will take the stage at 9:30 p.m.
“They have such an amazing following. We welcome their fans to Downers Grove,” Alikpala said. “What stays the same this year: great music, food and kids zone activities for all ages.”
All proceeds from the fest benefit programming and grants for the district.
“Our favorite part of the weekend is seeing District 58 teachers, principals and families we know in the community come together and enjoy what Oktoberfest has to offer,” Alikpala said. “And our brat eating contest always brings a fun rivalry between Downers Grove North and Downers Grove South students.”
Festivalgoers can purchase tickets in advance or at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to view the complete entertainment schedule, visit https://www.58foundation.net/oktoberfest.