The spirit of Oktoberfest is alive and well in Fredericksburg. For three full days, the town’s German heritage shines when downtown is consumed with live oompah bands, specialty foods, art, and plenty of beer. With revelers clad in decorated dirndls, kids donning their most festive face paint, and the smell of grilled sausage in the air, Fredericksburg does Oktoberfest right.
The bulk of the activity is concentrated around Marktplatz, but the whole town gets in on the action. Local breweries offer lots of German-inspired specials, and wineries host thematic bands. From the “Willkommen” banners to the German flags displayed, there’s no doubt how important the festival is to this Hill Country town with deep German roots.
A tradition for over 40 years, Oktoberfest is one of Fredericksburg’s main attractions in the fall. Over 25,000 people flock here to enjoy the music, brews, and lively atmosphere, which means a little planning ahead goes a long way. Here’s what to expect at the fun event.
Polka, oompah, orchestra, choir—just about every type of music you can imagine has a home here. Over the event’s three days, five stages are packed with musicians and singers. If you wander around Marketplatz, someone is playing almost every minute of the day.
Some of the tents are intended primarily for listening, but others—like the Adelsverein Halle—leave lots of room for impromptu dancing by visitors who just can’t stop at tapping their toes. It’s always fun to watch.
This year, you’ll find festival favorites Czech and Then Some, The Seven Dutchmen, and the Czechaholics—a polka band that has been entertaining Texas for over 20 years—among many others. Plus, keep a look out for the strolling musicians.
Food and drink
Next to listening to the great music, eating and drinking are probably the main activities at Oktoberfest, and there is a lot to choose from.
Visitors will find over 50 varieties of American, Texas, and imported beers. Whether Shiner Bock or something super local like Altstadt is your pick or you’re looking for a lager right from Deutschland, line up to try your favorites around the grounds.
If beer isn’t your drink of choice, there are options from several local wineries as well as tea, lemonade, and other non-alcoholic drinks. Even though it’s October, the weather can still be very warm, so it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated.
When it comes to food, the options feel endless. German and German-inspired specialties are the most sought-after. Visitors will find traditional foods like bratwurst, currywurst, flammkuchen (flatbread), Jaeger schnitzel, and more. There is also more typical Texas festival food like smoked turkey legs, BBQ brisket sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and funnel cake. We had one of the best soft pretzels of our lives here and thought the currywurst tasted just like what we get at Christmas markets in Germany.
It is worth noting that some of the foods do sell out, especially by Sunday morning. So, if there is something specific you want to try, don’t wait too late. The items from Opa’s, a local business that has specialized in smoked meats for over 75 years, are particularly popular.
Arts and souvenirs
Lest you think that Oktoberfest is just about music and indulging, there is shopping here, too!
Near the Vereins Kirche, two large tents are occupied by dozens of local artists and craftspeople selling unique items, handmade gifts, and artwork. From photography to natural soap to old fashioned cameras turned into lamps, there are numerous unexpected items. If you’re moved to join the revelers who come wearing their best dirndls and lederhosen, you’ll find some of those here also.
Despite all the beer, Oktoberfest is truly a family-friendly event with lots to keep the kids occupied.
Face painting and a bouncy house are two of the biggest draws for the festival’s younger visitors. There is also a magician, a stilt walker, and plenty of games. Don’t miss the “hi-striker,” which lets kids win prizes and show their strength right next to the adult version of the game.
Throughout the weekend, there are lots of special events within the festival. Highlights include OkTUBAfest—an event that invites tuba and euphonium players to welcome the first visitors through the Oktoberfest gates—and the 12th annual 5K and 8K Kraut Run.
Lovers of the slightly absurd will enjoy the Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance that invites hundreds of attendees of all ages to shake their tailfeathers, and those with strong drinking arms show their endurance at the Samuel Adams Beer Stein Hoist. Sunday’s Dirndl and Lederhosen Contest ensures that visitors come dressed in their finest, many proud to show off how many years they have attended the event.
Check the daily schedule for all the specifics.
Dates and costs
Oktoberfest is scheduled for October 6-8, 2023. It runs Friday 6pm to midnight, Saturday 10am to midnight, and Sunday 11 am to 6pm.
Admission to the event is $10 for adults for one day, $15 for 2 days, and $20 for all three days. Children ages 7-12 pay $1 per day, and those ages 6 and under are free. Buying tickets online (available before September 15) makes entry much faster.
Food and beverage purchases during Oktoberfest are done by buying tickets for $1 each, which are redeemed for different items. Most foods cost 9-14 tickets.
Crowds during the festival can get large, and parking is always at a premium. If you’re not within walking distance of Marktplatz, the Park & Ride at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds is a great option. It operates on Friday and Saturday.