The Great Northwest Oktoberfest returns to its home at Depot Park in downtown Whitefish for two fun Bavarian-themed weekends, Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Get ready for authentic German beer, food, music and dancing, with entertainment provided by Europa – one of America’s most sought-after Oktoberfest bands – on the first weekend, and Pech und Schwefel, direct from the Austrian Alps, on the second weekend. Saturday afternoons, the Flathead’s own German orchestra, the Bavarian Echoes, performs.
In addition to loads of live music, Oktoberfest offers hourly audience participation contests, including log sawing, stein holding, keg hurling and kids’ chicken dance contest. There’s no entry fee, and participants can sign up a half hour before each contest at the table to the left of the Oktoberfest stage (no sign-up necessary for the chicken dancing).
Highlights include the 2022 Oktoberfest Hop Queen Pageant, with an opportunity to meet candidates from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Firebrand Hotel with music by Pech und Schlefel. Head to the Big Top on Thursday, Sept. 29, to cast a vote and see who gets crowned.
The Men’s and Ladies’ Stein-Holding Grand Championships begin at 9 p.m. Oct. 1 on the Main Stage. Top contenders square-off for the title and a shot at winning a spot in next year’s Hofbrau Stein-Holding National Championships in New York City.
Festivities kick off Thursday, Sept 22, with an opening extravaganza and Locals Night, when Flathead County residents (with valid ID) get in free of charge. During Family Day, Sept. 24, kids 12 and under (with parents) get in free for a full afternoon of festivities outdoors in the Oktoberfest Beer Garden.
Gates are open 5-11 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon-11 p.m., Sept. 22-Oct. 1. Admission, available at the gate, is $8 and free for kids 12 and under are free when accompanied by a parent.
Plenty of free parking is available in and around the downtown area; revelers are asked to leave Fido at home.