Thurston County Oktoberfest celebrations have returned! But what is Oktoberfest? Every September cool winds blow down from the Alps and the leaves begin to change in Southern Germany. Along highways and county roads, stands pop up with farmers selling Federweißer, an unaged wine sold in jugs and unsealed bottles. Locals enjoy their federweißer alongside zwiebelkuchen, which is something like a savory onion cake. But before the leaves fall and the cool winds take on an icy chill, locals and tourist comes together for one of the biggest annual festivals in the world, Oktoberfest.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 as a celebration to commemorate the marriage of crown prince Ludwig, who would later become King Ludwig I. The annual celebration later moved to September to take advantage of milder weather and more daylight in the evening. Now the massive party takes place for at least 16 days, beginning near the end of September and lasting through the first Sunday in October. This year, Oktoberfest starts on September 22 and runs through October 7. While many associate Oktoberfest with drinking beer, the celebration includes food, folk music, carnival games and rides as well.
You don’t have to travel to the beer tents and festival fields of Munich to celebrate German culture for Oktoberfest. There are plenty of events, activities, and businesses that bring a touch of Germany right here to you in Thurston County. Check them out below.
Saturday, September 22
Elks Lodge #186 1st Annual Oktoberfest
Join the Elks Lodge in Olympia for their first Oktoberfest celebration on September 22. Enjoy delicious German food like bratwursts, ham hocks or rouladen along with traditional sides like spaetzle, red cabbage, sauerkraut, potato salad, and brötchen. Quench your thirst at the cash-only beer station. Guests are encouraged to wear Dirndl or Lederhosen. A balloon artist will be on hand for the children and everyone will be treated to live music by Tsunami Piñata. The party starts at 6:00 p.m., but doors open at 5:00 p.m. Tickets for this family friendly event are available online, at the office or by calling 360-753-0186. Get your tickets now, as they expect to fill to capacity. Net proceeds from this event will benefit Seattle Children’s hospital.
Elks Lodge #186
1818 4th Ave E, Olympia
Capitol Volkssport Club’s 35th Anniversary Walk
Volksmarching began in Germany in the 1960s. Simply put, a volksmarch is a non-competitive walk, promoting healthy, fun outdoor recreation. Volksmarching has since expanded across Europe and to other parts of the world, to include Olympia. Volksmarches vary in length, terrain difficulty, and are sometimes used to commemorate historic events
On September 22 the Capitol Volkssport Club invites you to join them for “A Walk in the Park” at Priest Point Park. This family friendly event takes place on the first day of Oktoberfest and celebrates the club’s 35th anniversary. The walk begins at 10:00 a.m. and walkers should register at shelter 1, near the rose garden. Walkers are invited to join either the 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) walk.
Priest Point Park
2600 East Bay Drive NE, Olympia
Saturday, September 29
Fish Brewing Company Oktoberfest and Anniversary Party
In conjunction with their 25th anniversary, Fish Brewing Company will be hosting their 20th annual Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, September 29 at their brewery across the street from Fish Tale Brew Pub. This 21+ event will feature a variety of delicious food and beers –including Leavenworth and Fish Tale Ales as well as Spire Mountain Ciders and Orca Wines. Chelsea Farms and National Fish & Oyster will also be present for some oyster shucking. There will be games and contests, as well as a dunk tank and live music provided by Seattle band The Aquanets. Tickets can be purchased online or in advance at the pub for $20 or for $25 at the door. Each ticket comes with a commemorative mug and drink tickets. The party kicks off at 4:00 p.m. and goes until 10:00 p.m.
Fish Tale Brew Pub
515 Jefferson St SE, Olympia
Oktoberfest German Dining Options
Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst
Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst has been a part of the Olympia Farmers Market since 1982. Owner Cheryl Hooper serves up a variety of German and Austrian sausages like bratwurst, bockwurst, and knackwurst. In celebration of Oktoberfest, try the currywurst—a bockwurst seasoned with curry powder, served with curry ketchup, grilled onions, and sauerkraut in a hoagie roll. Check out the Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst Facebook page for specials and operating hours.
Madeline’s Bavarian Wurst at The Olympia Farmers Market
700 Capitol Way N, Olympia
Oskar’s German and European Deli
Patrons can enjoy a variety of hot and cold dishes at Oskar’s German and European Deli, including a variety of German sausages, gourmet German sandwiches and the ever popular weinerschnizel. Stuffed cabbage rolls, a customer favorite, are available every Friday and Saturday. Pretzels and other breads are baked fresh daily. The deli’s secret recipe potato salad is available as a side or for purchase by the pound. Oskar’s Deli also sells a variety of German groceries so you can make your own German meal at home. And beginning just in time for Oktoberfest, Oskar’s Deli will begin selling German beer and wine.
Oskar’s German and European Deli
720 Sleater Kinney Rd SE, Lacey
The German Diner in Lacey serves up a number of traditional German dishes. Check the menu for specialties like sauerbraten or rouladen which are only available on specific days of the week. The diner is also a great place to indulge in a döner kebab—a popular street food imported to Germany from Turkey which has taken on a German flair. Wash your meal down with a delicious German beer and make sure to save room for dessert, because the German Diner offers a variety of delicious German cakes, including a moist and flavorful black forest cake.
8910 Martin Way E, Lacey