If you were going to throw an Oktoberfest style party, reminiscent of the famous annual celebration in Munich, you would want to have that party in a city already known for its love of beer, or more specifically, love of German beer.
To be more specific, St. Louis would be your town, as it is the best beer city in America, and our beer history is deeply rooted in German style beers.
That is why, we are not surprised the North American Society of German Culture and Heritage is announcing it's bringing its celebration of German food, beer, and culture in St. Louis in Fall 2019. The event differs from other Oktoberfest celebrations as it will not only be family-friendly but also feature award-winning brewers of German-style beer. The Great North American Oktoberfest will take place on Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6, 2019 in St. Louis with the site location to be announced in early 2019.
The festival grounds will include games and rides for guests of all ages, and the main event will take place in a large tent adorned in traditional Bavarian decorations. The event will feature beers from German breweries as well as North American breweries that have won a gold medal in either the World Beer Cup or Great American Beer Festival in a German style.
“We want to bring the Munich Oktoberfest experience to this side of the pond,” explains Board President Martin Howell. “We evaluated a number of host cities from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, but St. Louis’ deeply-rooted German history and central Midwest location made it the perfect destination for our premium event. St. Louis is also located within the German Triangle, an area defined by the points of Milwaukee to the north, St. Louis to the southwest, and Cincinnati to the southeast.”
St. Louis has a history steeped in German culture that began with a large influx of German immigrants from the early 1800s and continues today with a large amount of German neighborhood festivals, German-style breweries, and German cultural/historical societies. In addition to its history, St. Louis was a fit for the festival due to the city’s central flight hub at St. Louis Lambert International Airport; over 38,000 hotel rooms; mass transit system; and more. St. Louis also has a spirit of embracing new ideas while showcasing an appreciation for its roots with one of the fastest growing startup economies in the country.
The North American Society of German Culture and Heritage (NASGCH) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit comprised of people from across the country who are passionate about German culture and seek to host an authentic Oktoberfest event, reminiscent of the celebration in Munich, Germany. The organization felt it was imperative to appoint a St. Louisan to lead the charge for the Gateway City to host the three-day festival and named Jared Opsal as executive director. Opsal has extensive experience in supporting city initiatives when he served as executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association and a board member with various civic entities.
“It’s a point of civic pride for St. Louis,” he states. “We have the opportunity to deliver an Oktoberfest experience as authentic as a trip to Munich. We want to connect people through a unique experience, with a celebration of German cuisine and beer at the heart of it all.”
Opsal and team traveled to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest this year and are committed to bringing an authentic Bavarian experience to attendees. Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration highlights many different styles of German beers and dozens of traditional foods. NASGCH is inviting the top German and North American brewers to participate in this premiere event, and chefs from the area will be invited to serve traditional German foods along with their German-inspired dishes.
The event will also be family-friendly as well. Opsal explains, “It was really amazing in Munich to see how everyone takes part in the celebration. We plan to bring that family environment to the festival grounds as well.” Guests of all ages will be able to enjoy rides and games. A traditional biergarten will be built on the festival grounds for the entire family to relax while they enjoy German music and food. For those of legal drinking age, there will also be a large, traditional festival tent, decorated similar to the ones in Munich, that will seat thousands of people.
The organizers anticipate tens of thousands of attendees over the festival’s three-day period making the event a significant tourism driver for the city in 2019. “This is an opportunity for St. Louis to step into the spotlight and showcase how we can celebrate a piece of our rich cultural history and host a destination-worthy event,” says Opsal.