Fine Arts and Fest

Oktoberfest 2011

Chad W. Lutz
While you might never have guessed it, Oktoberfest is one of the most widely celebrated traditions in the history of the world. Begun in Germany in the early 1800s, Oktoberfest commemorates the royal wedding of then Prince Ludwig, who later went on to rule as King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The celebration, which took place on October 12, 1810, originally hosted horse races in now Theresienweise or “Therese’s Fields” in honor of the Princess.

The following year, in 1811, the festival incorporated an agricultural show and eventually added amusement rides, such as carousels and swing sets. It wasn’t until 1896 that the beer tents so synonymous with Oktoberfest were first included in the festivities. Before, quaint beer stands did their best to meet the demand of thirsty festivalgoers. However, by 1896, the festival had become so large that Oktoberfest needed to adapt and added the large tents now common to the modern version of the festival you see today.

By its 200th anniversary in 2010, Oktoberfest in Munich had become, “the largest festival in the world.” Each year, roughly 5-6 million people make the trek from all over the world to Oktoberfest Munich to dine on soft pretzels and bier cheese and drink as many liters of home- and commercial-brewed beer as their palettes can handle.

What does all of this have to do with Ohio? It’s no secret that Ohioans love a good festival. From the Burning River Festival held in Cleveland at the end of July, the Taste of Cincinnati, the Twinsburg Twins Day Festival, and the Columbus Arts Festival, Ohio offers a little bit of everything for everyone. One sure thing most Ohioans agree on? Beer. And when it comes to beer, few things deliver quite like Oktoberfest.

*Below is a list of this year’s major Oktoberfest events happening throughout the state of Ohio. (Brost!)

2011 Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest
September 2-5
Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Berea, Ohio

America’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, USA
September 16-18
Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbus Oktoberfest
September 23-25
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair Grounds, Columbus, Ohio

2011 Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest
September 23-25
Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio

Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest
September 9-11
Riverfront Square Front Street Mall, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Minster Oktoberfest
Sept. 30 – Oct. 2
Minster, Ohio

St. Jude’s Oktoberfest
September 24-25
St. Jude Parish, Cincinnati, Ohio
Photos provided courtesy of Google Images