Oktoberfest in Helen is one the most highly anticipated annual German events stateside. Find out everything you need to know in this guide to Oktoberfest in Alpine Helen.
One of the best perks of visiting Helen during Oktoberfest is enjoying a Bavarian-style party without the jetlag. You don’t have to travel to Germany to get a taste of Bavarian traditions such as German beer and foods, lederhosens, live music and polka dancing.
In 1970, Helen hosted the first Oktoberfest—and the festival has only proven to pick up in popularity as the years pass. 2023 marks the 53rd celebration of the event, so book your room, pack your bags and get ready for the biggest German-themed party of your life.
What is Oktoberfest in Helen?
Oktoberfest in Helen is an annual festival held all over the world to celebrate the classic Bavarian culture. Stateside, Helen’s Oktoberfest is the longest-running festival of its kind and includes original German traditions such as traditional beers, Germanic foods, polka dancing and music played by local musicians in the Festhalle.
Oktoberfest 2023 spans nearly two months, so check your calendar for these dates:
Sept 7–10, 2023 (Thursday–Sunday)
Sept 14–17, 2023 (Thursday–Sunday)
Sept 21–24, 2023 (Thursday–Sunday)
Sept 28–Oct 29, 2023 (nightly)
The 2023 Oktoberfest Parade begins at noon on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. And the annual tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest will take place immediately after the parade at the Fussen Biergarten at the Helen Festhalle.
Helen Festhalle, the center hub of Oktoberfest, is located at 1074 Edelweiss St. in downtown Helen. Oktoberfest celebrations happen in the Festhalle:
- Mondays through Thursdays: 6 to 10:30 p.m.
- Fridays: 6 p.m. to midnight
- Saturdays: 1 p.m. to midnight
- Sundays: 1 to 7 p.m.
Festhalle tickets can only be purchased at the door and admission is $10 Monday through Thursday, $12 on Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays are free! Active and retired military get in free with valid military ID. Also, kids under 6 are free and kids 6–12 are half price.
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As rowdy as Oktoberfest sounds, it is also family-friendly. Kids under 6 years old get in free and kids ages 6-12 are half off daily prices. Bring your kids earlier in the day to experience the flair of German celebration on their own dance floor.
The Festhalle is set up with rows of long tables so that you can eat and drink while enjoying the local bands.
Where to Dance during Oktoberfest
Every year during Oktoberfest in Helen, both national and international German-style bands play on the stage for your listening and viewing pleasure. Check out this year’s band schedule. See the Alphorns blown, the Cowbells rung and the Accordion squeezed. Grab your partner and take a spin on the dance floor to the timeless tunes of the Polka and Waltz—and let loose with the Chicken Dance.
What to Wear to Oktoberfest
It’s completely up to you as to how to dress for Oktoberfest 2022 in Helen. If you enjoy costumes, you can capitalize on German attire throughout your visit to Helen. You’ll find many people dressed in traditional Bavarian attire, including lederhosen for men and three-piece dirndls for women, ranging from:
Come to the Festhalle dressed in your German best and you’re sure to find many others outfitted similarly, dancing the night away to popular German songs. And, of course, Alpine attire makes for some great group pictures!
Where to Drink
The Festhalle serves a wide variety of German and American beer, wine, wine coolers and ciders. So while you’re inside partying Bavarian-style, you can get more than your fill of the German good stuff.
But if you want to get a start earlier in the day, try one of these places for German beer:
- King Ludwig’s Beer Garden: Konig Ludwig, Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Pilsner, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest
- Troll Tavern: Hofbrau Hefe-Dunke , Furstenberg Pilsner, Erdinger Heffeweizen, Paulaner Oktoberfest
- Hofbrauhaus Restaurant & Pub: Hofbrau Original Lager, Hofbrau Hefeweizen, Hofbrau Dunkel, Warsteiner Pilsner, Warsteiner Dunkel, Konig Ludwig Weissbier, Spaten Oktoberfest, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Erdinger Hefeweizen, Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest,
- Bigg Daddy’s Restaurant and Tavern: Warsteiner Pilsner, Weihenstephaner Original Helles, Warsteiner Oktoberfest
Where to Eat
When it comes to finding great German food in Helen, the possibilities are endless. Vendors at the Festhalle will serve you every traditional German dish you can imagine. Think bratwursts and wiener sausages, German potato salad, sauerkraut and more. Check out this year’s menu at the Festhalle.
If you have time to plan ahead, book an afternoon with Helen & Back Food Tours. Be sure to wear your walking shoes as you fill your mind with Helen history and your belly with German food. The tour stops at 5-6 of Helen’s best restaurants, including popular favorites and hidden gems.
But if you want to explore German food in Helen on your own, here are some favorite places to experience the authentic Bavarian flavors of wurst, schnitzel, strudel, pretzels and sauerkraut:
- Bodensee Restaurant: Try the Sauerbraten, Rouladen and Goulash soup.
- Hofers Bakery and Cafe: Taste the Danishes, German Chocolate Torte and Reuben sandwich.
- Cafe International: Try the Beer Cheese Pretzel, Reuben Sandwich and German Potato Salad.
- The Old Bavaria Inn: Try the Reuben or Pork Snitzel Sandwich, Beer Cheese Pretzel and Apple Streudel.
- Mueller’s Famous Fried Cheese Cafe: Try the Chicken Schnitzel, Hungarian Goulash, Schweinebraten and Fried Cheese Kabob.
- The Heidleberg Restaurant and Pub: Taste the Reuben Sandwich, Spatzel, Soft Pretzels and Apple Streudel.
- Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and Pub: Try the Wurst Platter or one of the many Schnitzel options.
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What to Bring
This may seem obvious, but for a smooth trip to Helen for Oktoberfest 2023, be sure you take your ID, cash for parking or tips and excitement with you wherever you go!
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