Oktoberfest in Nebraska
I’ve found five festivals of Oktoberfest in Nebraska. That’s an embarrassingly low number for a state where more than 40% of the population claims German heritage. Did I miss the celebrations? Or do you just not like German beer anymore? Here are the Nebraska Oktoberfest celebrations that I’ve found:
We hope you enjoyed last year’s list. We will be updating this information for 2016 over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
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Norfolk Oktoberfest – Norfolk, NE – September 23-24, 2016
The Lions Club parade and the Riverpoint Arts Festival have been joined with the Oktoberfest Family Festival to make a weekend of fun. The parade travels through downtown Norfolk, and the arts festival is in Johnson Park. The Oktoberfest celebration will have live music, traditional German food and even a specially brewed Oktoberfest beer just for the event. The music will be setup in the parking lot behind the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce building at Seventh Street and Norfolk Avenue. On Friday evening, they will have the keg tapping at 5:30 PM. The beer pong tournament, Ms. Oktoberfest and Mr. Oktoberfest are also on Friday evening. Saturday brings the Lions Club parade at 10 AM, home brewers presentation, beer pong tournament, 13.5 mile fun bike ride at 3 PM and brat eating contest at 6 PM. Kids zone Saturday afternoon from 3-7 PM will have games, inflatables and root beer floats.
German-American Society Oktoberfest – Omaha, NE – September 18-19, 2015
The German-American Society of Omaha, Nebraska hosts an annual Oktoberfest weekend with German food, beer (as well as drinking contest), ceremonial tapping of the keg, live music, dancing, arcade games and face painting for kids. Admission is $5 for adults. Active Military Personnel with valid identification and kids 12 and under are free. Location: 3717 South 120th Street, Omaha, NE 68144
Sidney’s Oktoberfest – Sidney, NE – October 2-4, 2015
A three day festival with beer, food, live bands and entertainment, parade, craft show, and Running of the Wiener’s Dog Races. It is held annually on the first full weekend in October and is one of the most popular festivals in Western Nebraska. There’s even a custom auto show with Friday as cruising night. The Rod and Roll show is held on Saturday in Legion Park at the baseball field. Typically starts with keg tapping Friday at noon. Dances are held on both Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday starts with a parade at 10 AM featuring antique cars, community floats, clowns and marching bands. A high school band competition is held Saturday afternoon at the Sidney High School football field. Horseshoe tournament and dachsund races are held on Sunday. Location: Sidney Nebraska Fairgrounds, 10955 Hwy 30, Sidney, NE 69162
Okto Beerfest – Lincoln – October 15, 2015
Celebrate their 22nd year with over 200 different beers from around the world, food from 20 to 30 top area restaurants and caterers, live auction and music featuring bag pipers.
Location: Lancaster Event Center
Gerda’s German Restaurant and Bakery Oktoberfest – Omaha, NE – September 4-5, 2015
Heard about this Oktoberfest from a reader who says it has been going on for ten years and has a solid turnout. I am told their roast chicken is the best around. Gerda’s is one of the city’s finest restaurant. Again this year the popular Dave Salmons Polka Band provides the entertainment. They have played this event for close to 15 years. The Oktoberfest runs from 5 PM to Midnight. They go all out with two big tents, music, great beers and foods including big ham shanks, German brats, saukerkraut, spaetzle, and pretzels.
Location: 5180 Leavenworth St, Omaha, NE 68106
Lucky Bucket Brewing Company – La Vista, NE – September 11, 2015
Location: 11941 Centennial Drive, La Vista, NE.
Huber-Haus Oktoberfest – Omaha, NE – September 25-26, 2015
This is an authentic German beer bar with Bavarian pub food that throws an Omaha Oktoberfest. It hosts a two day family friendly Oktoberfest celebration with ceremonial keg tapping, live German music, German beers on tap and German food. Bands will include The Barry Boyce Band on Friday and Saturday and Bobby “Z” and Polka Joy on Saturday. Beer on tap from Hofbrau, Spaten, Warsteiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Weihenstephaner. Food will include brats, chicken schnitzel, pretzels, desserts and more. 2015 will be their 14th annual festival. Admission is free. Location: 36th & Farnam Street, Omaha, NE
Kearney Oktoberfest – October 3, 2015
2nd annual event. Keg tapping, live music, games and food. Sponsored by the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce.
Location: Buffalo County Fairgrounds
We have just added these maps with the locations of each Oktoberfest. We may not have had the exact location for each Oktoberfest so in some instances we have placed the marker in the general vicinity of the Oktoberfest. Be sure to get specific directions from another source and do not solely rely on our map at the moment. We have also noticed that the markers may not show up on some mobile browsers. We will work to sort out this bug in the future.
Please confirm dates, locations and activities available at the Oktoberfest before going. That’s one reason that we provide a website address when we find one. We attempt to ensure that the information for each Oktoberfest is accurate but there are bound to be a few errors. If you let us know when you find one, we will fix it. In some cases, we may link to the 2014 event when information for 2015 is not available. Do not be fooled.
The festivals listed range in size. Some events may have hundreds of thousands of attendees. Others may have only a handful. We’re sorry that we don’t have more information about attendance numbers at the moment. We will do our best to add this information as time goes on.
Professionalism varies as well. Some Oktoberfests are professional operations with large budgets. Others are local operations run by volunteers. Do your due diligence before making plans to attend so that you know what to expect. We will happily publish information about your experience with any Oktoberfest so that our visitors will be better informed in the future.
Some Oktoberfests are more family friendly than others. If you have small children, look for an Oktoberfest that has activities for kids. Other events start out with family friendly activities and become more adult oriented as it becomes later in the evening.
Not all Oktoberfest celebrations will be authentic German festival experiences. Some may simply be an excuse to drink rather than celebrate German heritage. Some may call themselves Oktoberfest but provide local or seasonal beer rather than authentic German Oktoberfest beer. Be sure to consider the type of celebration that you are looking to attend when you pick your Oktoberfest.
Activities offered at each Oktoberfest varies. Some activities that you may find are parades, keg tapping ceremony, beer gardens, Miss Oktoberfest or costume contests, stein holding contests, bratwurst eating contest, chicken dance, wiener races, keg toss, live German bands and local entertainment, polka dancing and fairground games. Some Oktoberfest events will just have beer and brats.
Please don’t drink and drive. We want everyone to get home safe. Use a designated driver or take public transportation.
Do you run one of the Oktoberfests listed? Feel free to send us additional information and we will add it. We apologize for any errors: send us corrections when you find them!
If you are looking for bigger parties, you might try the list of the largest Oktoberfests in the United States. For more Oktoberfest festivals, look at the following surrounding states for more parties: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Whether you have found a festival to enjoy or you will be celebrating from home, Funtober has some other resources that will help you prepare for Oktoberfest. Read about the history of Oktoberfest. Learn about Oktoberfest beer. Find the words to Oktoberfest music. Plan your Oktoberfest outfit. And try cooking some of these Oktoberfest recipes.
Find other fun things to do in Nebraska in October: