October means many things for New Orleanians—the coming of fall weather, fall festivals, Halloween and, of course, Oktoberfest. While many bars and restaurants across the city host their own interpretation of Oktoberfest (Oct. 11-12, 18-19, 25-26)—generally themed with plenty of German beer and food—the German organization Deutsches Haus has become the primary host for the event.
Since 1928, Deutsches Haus has been a hub for Germans and their culture. It evolved from the Deutsche Gesselschaft, which dates back to 1848 and was a source of support for German immigrants in the city. Having since expanded on its foundation to assimilate Germans into life in America, the organization has become a haven for German culture and remains so today in the form of Deutsches Haus.
In its determination to expose and introduce New Orleanians to German culture, Deutsches Haus began hosting its annual Oktoberfest celebration each year for the past few decades and has become Oktoberfest central as a result.
For years, Oktoberfest—and other German cultural events—was held at Deutsches Haus’ historic Mid-City location on Galvez St. But when plans were announced to build the upcoming medical complex that stretches from downtown through its Mid-City area, the Deutsches Haus had to shut its doors and move out to the suburb of Metairie. The Oktoberfest itself has now been celebrated at Rivertown in Kenner, the next town over, for the past three years.
Despite a change in location, Oktoberfest continues its event’s strictly German traditions, from German beer and food to German live music and dancing. To complement the event’s wide selection of German beers, there will be German food such as bratwursts, sauerkraut, red cabbage, German potato salad and even an 11-ounce pretzel. Live music includes traditional waltzes, polkas and marches by such bands as Das Ist Lustig, Prost and The Brats.
In addition to these classic bits of German culture, Oktoberfest will feature a 5K and a dachshund run, a beer stein-holding contest, wine tastings, a European car show, a $500 cash door prize and a cookbook unveiling and signing for celebrity chef John Besh’s Cooking From the Heart.
Deutsches Haus’ Oktoberfest will be hosted at Kenner’s Rivertown at 415 Williams Blvd. Tickets are $6 per person and free for kids 12 and younger. The event’s last two weekends are Oct. 18-19th and 25-26th.