Oktoberfest in Wisconsin
Some of the largest and longest running Oktoberfest celebrations happen every year in Wisconsin. If you are looking for a German festival to attend in September or October 2015, you should have no trouble finding the right beer and food here. More than 40 percent of the state’s residents boast German heritage. From Milwaukee and Madison, to La Crosse and Appleton, the fall is filled with fun festivals to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria.
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We add the dates and locations of the events for Wisconsin Oktoberfest throughout the year starting in February or March. By September, we usually have 15-20 festivals hosted by communities, restaurants and breweries in The Badger State.
Waupaca Oktoberfest – Waupaca, WI – September 2, 2016
Central Waters Brewery in Amherst puts on this Oktoberfest with lots of beer, wine, and German food. The Charlie Justmann Band provides the entertainment with plenty oom-pah, big band songs, and oldies. Nothing like a little bit of the old country on a fall afternoon. Proceeds benefit the programs of the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club. Location: Under the tent and in the conference center at the Waupaca Ale House.
La Crosse Oktoberfest – La Crosse, Wisconsin – Sept 29 – October 2, 2016
The first Oktoberfest in La Crosse was held in 1961. Over fifty years later, it is still going strong. Activities include live music, Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest, Festmaster’s Ball, parades, contests, and even a mud run. Location: South Side Festival Grounds – La Crosse St & 2nd St N, La Crosse, WI, 54602
Oktoberfest – Appleton, WI – September 24-25, 2016
A mile of fun on College Avenue in Appleton, in what is described as Appleton’s largest block party. Live music, over 100 food vendors, Friday night classic cars at the License to Cruise, arts & crafts and family fun area with kid-friendly activities and entertainment. Location: College Avenue, Appleton WI
Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest – Chippewa Falls, WI – September 16-18, 2016
14th annual event with 15,000 to 20,000 expected to attend this festival. The announcement of the Festmeister & Festmeisterin happens at noon at the Leinenkugel Brewery followed by the Golden Keg Procession to the grounds. 4 stages with over 30 entertainers including plenty of live music, dancing, magic tricks and a family fun stage. Live music includes both authentic German and polka style bands. Contests include Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off, beer stein holding, sauerkraut eating, euchre card tournament and a German fashion show. Also learn about the German heritage, shop vendors and eat delicious German foods. For kids and families, there are games, art activities, inflatables, fashion show and other entertainment. Daily admission is $8 at the gate but three day admission wristbands are available pre-event only for $15 each. Free parking on Sunday. Sunday is all about the kids – with free admission for all age children. If you are looking to book a room the Country Inn is the official sponsor. All proceeds go to local charities.
Location: 225 Edward Street, Chippewa Falls, WI
New Glarus Oktoberfest – New Glarus, WI – September 23-25, 2016
America’s Little Switzerland holds an annual German festival at the end of September. Keg tapping ceremony on Friday night at 9 PM. Antique tractor pull on Sunday. Fondue tasting and demonstration on Sunday afternoon. 5K run/walk on Saturday morning. Chainsaw carving, wagon rides and plenty of family fun. Sponsored by the New Glarus Brewery. Free admission to the festival tent all weekend long.
Essen Haus Oktoberfest – Madison, WI – September 24, 2016
This is a German restaurant and trinken halle with 16 German biers on tap throughout the year. They’ve been holding an event for more than 30 years. Live music, brat and pie eating contests, beer races, outdoor dance floor, Hammer Schlagen and kids tent for their annual one day event in mid-September. Location: 514 East Wilson Street, Madison, WI 53703
Antigo Oktoberfest – October 1, 2016
Outdoor event with fun for the whole family. The local chamber holds the event at the Langlade County Fairgrounds livestock pavilion. German food, live music, dancing and crafts fair. Souvenir beer mugs available for purchase and plenty of German inspired beer available to those 21+ years old. Runs from 4-9 PM.
Cedarburg Oktoberfest – Cedarburg, WI – October 8-9, 2016
9th annual event. Celebrate the ethnic heritage of the area with oompah music from authentic German bands, dancing, food and specialty beers. A huge tent is erected for the festival and a wooden dance floor allows you to polka. Specialty beers from Hofbrau, Hacker Pschorr, Leinenkugel and Bluemoon. Authentic German dinners include wiener schnitzel, bratwurst, currywurst and other dishes. Live entertainment includes the Pommersche Tanzdeel Dancers, Tuba Dan, the Alte Kameraden Band, D’ Lustig’n Wendlstoana Dancers and the Cedarburg Civic Band. Live Glockenspiel show every two hours. Contests and games available for all ages including a sheepshead tournament (Sunday), best Lederhosen/Dirndl contest, sauerkraut eating contest and German Spelling Bee. Cars owned by members of the Milwaukee Region Porsche Club of America will also be displayed from Noon to 3 PM on Sunday. There are also many art exhibits within walking distance of the festival. Free admission and parking. It runs from 11 AM to 8 PM on Saturday and 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday. Note: pets are not allowed on the festival grounds. Location: Community Center Parking Lot (W63 N641 Washington Avenue)
Our Lady of Lourdes Oktoberfest Artisan Fair – Milwaukee – October 14-16, 2016
Primarily an arts and crafts fair with handcrafted products and quality art, but it does offer a beer garden, entertainment, and food.
Elkhorn Oktoberfest – Elkhorn, WI – October 15, 2016
The 11th annual festival is held on the third Saturday in October at Veterans and Pocket Parks in the downtown square. It runs from 9 AM to 5 PM. A block of Wisconsin Street will be closed down this year for a large stage and more food vendors. The wine and beer tasting starts at 11 AM and offers a commemorative mug and six tastings for $12. Over 100 crafters offer handmade items and antiques for sale. Free entry for classic car show from 11 AM to 2 PM but five non-perishable food items or a donation of $5 for the Elkhorn Food Pantry is encouraged. Have a fantastic ride? Be one of the first 100 cars to put yours on display on a first come, first served basis. Put your recipe against the best in the chili cook-off or taste all of the options for just $5. There’s also a 5K Bier Run/Walk, Beer Olympics and Cornhole Challenge.
Location: 100 W. Walworth Street, Elkhorn
Lake Geneva Oktoberfest – Lake Geneva, WI – October 10-11, 2015
The 24th annual Oktoberfest runs on Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM each day. It is a family fall festival with live music, food, craft booths, wagon hayrides, pony rides, bouncy castle and other kids activities. Don’t miss the great pumpkin giveaway! Free shuttle pickup and drop off from select parking locations. This street festival is located in Southeast Wisconsin ninety minutes from downtown Chicago. Location: Downtown Lake Geneva
Plymouth Oktoberfest – Plymouth, WI – September 18-19, 2015
12th annual Oktoberfest hosted by the Plymouth Arts Center. Live music, German food, biergarten, and kids art. They advise guests to bring a lawn chair. Free admission.
Location: 520 E. Mill Street Plymouth, WI 53073
St. Martin of Tours – Franklin – October 17, 2015
Second annual event from 1 to 10 PM. It is held indoors with food, beer, music, sheepshead games, crafts and pig roast. Reservations required.
Old Settlers Oktoberfest – Paddock Lake – September 12, 2015
Food, beer, music and dancing from noon to 8 PM. Beer tent sponsored by Westosha Kiwanis. There will also be a classic car show, wiener dog races and Little Miss Edelweis Pageant (girls ages 3-10). There are also kids games, face painting, hair braiding and a fireworks display. Admission is free.
Location: Old Settlers Park on Highway 50 (75th Street)
Kohler Falls Oktoberfest – Sheboygan Falls – September 11-12, 2015
Sheboygan Falls Lions Club and the Kohler Police Athletic League teamed up for this first annual event. German music, dance and food available. Games and contests include the 5K run/walk, teen battle of the bands, sheepshead tournament and cornhold tournament.
Location: River Park, Sheboygan Falls, WI.
The Great Rotary Oktoberfest – Middleton, WI – September 26, 2015
The 2nd Annual Great Rotary Oktoberfest at Fireman’s Park (near Middleton High School) from Noon to 10:00 pm. Good Music, Good Beer, GREAT Cause. Over 10 beers on tap, and live music including our feature band: Cherry Pie starting at 6:30 pm. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Rotary Club of Madison West Towne-Middleton’s charitable efforts. $10 admission for ages 18+. $5 admission for ages 14-18. Children 13 and under are free.
Shell Lake Oktoberfest – Shell Lake, WI – Sept 26, 2015
The 4th annual event will be held at the Shell Lake Arts Center.
Sheboygan Oktoberfest – Sheboygan, WI – October 2-3, 2015
8th annual key tapping ceremony. The event starts Friday night. Saturday at 10:00 am is their 3rd annual wiener dog race and costume contest.
Location: Al & Al’s Steinhaus, 1502 South 12th St., Sheboygan, WI.
Milwaukee Oktoberfest – Milwaukee, WI – Friday and Saturdays starting September 11, 2015 and ending October 3, 2015
The Bavarian Soccer Club hosts this event at the site of the former Bavarian Inn at Heidelberg Park. It has been going on for more than sixty years. Alpine style pavilion equipped with weather curtains on the open sides called the Bavarian Fest Garten hosts the main festivities. Traditional German brass bands, Schuhplatter folk dancing, singing, yodeling, and sing-alongs. Broiled chicken, bratwurst, spanferkel, rollbraten and pretzels are just some of the food available. Oktoberfest Queen contest on the first Saturday. Admission is $5 online and at the door.
Location: 700 W Lexington Blvd., Glendale, Wisconsin
These events were held in Wisconsin last year and we expect them to be held again. We leave them in this section until they announce:
Brewmasters Oktoberfest – Wausau, WI – September 27, 2014
The annual Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival is holding the Brewmasters Oktoberfest again in 2014. Nearly 20 breweries will most likely participate. Sample over 100 craft beers and food from local restaurants. Ceremonial keg tapping and live entertainment at the event. Location: 400 Block, Downtown Wausau, WI
Wurst Oktoberfest – Madison – September 12, 2014
Inaugural event by Isthmus newspaper in Central Park. Lineup of polka bands includes The Happy Schnapps Combo and The Strawberry Jam Band. Admission is $25 and includes Leinenkugel beer and samples of sausage, cheese and other food. Pints of beer available for $4 or 2 for $7. Kids 12 and under are $12.
Location 202 S. Ingersoll Street, Madison WI 53703
Milwaukee Oktoberfest – October 3-5, 2014
Pere Marquette Park, Downtown Milwaukee
West Milwaukee Oktoberfest – September 13-14, 2014
Milwaukee Oktoberfest Bar Tour – Milwaukee, WI – October 12-13, 2013
Location: Old World 3rd Street
Want to know what you are getting in to by attending one of these Oktoberfests? Try my list of the largest festivals for Oktoberfest in America for the most popular and attended celebrations of German heritage. You should also check the lists of nearby states that also celebrate Oktoberfest if you don’t find one on the weekend that you want to party: Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.
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 Wisconsin in October: