Published on October 9th, 2013 | by Kim Gordon


A Taste of Germany

The Soulard Oktoberfest celebrates its 10th anniversary

OKTOBERFEST PICNothing ushers in the harvest season like the Soulard Oktoberfest with its 2,000 kegs of beer, 1,000 Munich-style baby-back ribs and 11 premier bands as the annual festival amps up to throw the biggest and most authentic German Oktoberfest celebration in America Oct. 11-13.

Rated as one of the Top Three Oktoberfests in America by The Associated Press, AOL, CNBC and numerous other major news organizations, the 2013 Soulard Oktoberfest is poised to celebrate its 10th anniversary as the leading Oktoberfest in the nation. The festival anticipates drawing 60,000 people to Soulard and tapping a record-breaking 2,000 kegs this year.

The 2013 Soulard Oktoberfest will be held two blocks east of the Soulard Market at 3rd and Lafayette streets, allowing the festival to encompass more than three football fields packed with bands, beers, tents and brats.

“We are excited about the festival’s continued incredible growth because it will allow us to truly mirror the authenticity of the Munich Oktoberfest with traditional brewer tents and more than 35 food, drink and merchandise vendors while continuing to bring local, national—and even global—attention to Soulard,” explains festival founder John McKinstry.



There’s no better place to experience “bier” the way Germans brew it outside Germany than the Soulard Oktoberfest. Beer from four breweries—local favorites Schlafly Beer Brands and traditional German brewers Paulaner and Kulmbacher—will be on tap at the Soulard Oktoberfest.

They’ve been drinking Paulaner beer in Munich ever since 1634, when the Minim friars of the Neudeck ob der Au Cloister established the brewery. And Kulmbacher traces back to the Kulmbacher Reichelbräu, founded by three German brewmeisters in 1846.

In St. Louis, Schlafly Beer Brands  keeps up the tradition of German immigrant brewers. Schlafly will sell its German style beers Oktoberfest, Summer Lager, Kolsch and Hefewiezen.

“This year, we wanted the beers to truly represent German brewing heritage from the light Kolsch lager and flavorful Marzens to the ‘knock-your-socks off’ Double Bocks,” McKinstry adds, “whatever you order at the Soulard Oktoberfest, it’s guaranteed to make you raise a stein and say wunderbar!”



The festival’s devotion to headlining authentic German music is one of the reasons it receives repeated national recognition as one of the leading Oktoberfests in the nation.

The Soulard Oktoberfest will feature 11 premier bands―including performances by the international fest-rock sensation the Dorfrockers, whose music charts higher than Lady Gaga’s in parts of Europe. This year, Oktoberfest is creating a 15,000 square-foot Oktobertfest tent that will hold 2,000 people to accommodate the big crowds the Dorfrockers draw to the festival.

“The Dorfrockers’ German fest-rock music has excited fans across the globe,” says festival music scout and board member Achim Oesterle. “The Dorfrockers’ colorful, witty lyrics and lively pop-fest performances will help draw big crowds to the festival while bringing an authentic slice of Germany to St. Louis.”

Hailing from Deutschland, Chikeria brings its traditional Bavarian music and modern German party music to the festival this year. The festival’s all-star musical line-up also features Wisconsin sensation Copper Box’s award-winning mix of polka, rock and Zydeco and the Denver-based Polkanauts’ eclectic mix of polka, metal, rock, punk and surf. The Austrian Express, the Deutschmeister Brass Band and longtime local favorites, the Soulard Blues Band, also play the festival.



From lively German party-fest and authentic polka music to traditional brewer tents to the roasted scheweinshaxe and turkey legs, the 2013 Soulard Oktoberfest promises to bring a taste of the legendary Munich festival to the Midwest.

Kenrick’s Meat Market & Catering, one of St. Louis’ oldest and finest butcher shops, will prepare traditional Oktoberfest favorites such as open-grilled bratwurst, fresh homemade sauerkraut and barbeque ribs. The Roemer Topf in Mascoutah, Ill., will also serve Fest Bier Roast with red cabbage, spaetzle, Jaeger Schnitzel and other specialties. And the famous Piller Pretzels will be directly imported from Germany.

“People travel from around the globe to partake in the Soulard Oktoberfest because it provides a unique opportunity to experience German culture and food,” explains “Mr. Oktoberfest” Gerd Goetz. For years, the 74-year-old German immigrant and retired tool and die maker has opened the first keg of beer and presided over the event as “Mr. Oktoberfest.” Decked out in lederhosen, his stein held high, he’s led thousands in rousing rendition of the German drinking song, Ein Prosit. “I get together and get on the stage and make the people happy. I like to do it to keep the German heritage up.”



In the festival’s ongoing effort to mirror the authenticity of the legendary Munich festival, Soulard Oktoberfest is featuring a special state-of-the-art VIP tent that exemplifies a traditional Munich festival tent.

And if the Cardinals go to the playoffs this year, Oktoberfest will be the place to catch the game. The festival is offering several Cards playoff packages that include festival admission, signature Oktoberfest mugs, VIP drink and food packages and exclusive tents.

This year, Oktoberfest is offering a multimedia, state-of-the-art experience—you can watch the Cards win the playoffs on a massive 24-foot movie screen. The festival will also have two additional 12-foot TV screens, capturing band performances and stage competitions. There will also be parking and shuttles back and forth to the games if played at Busch during the festival.


Urban Spaces Can Be Beautiful Places

This year, students at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School will decorate the festival grounds with artwork, which will adorn nearly a mile of fences around the grounds of Oktoberfest. The art students will also create decorations for the interior of the tents in an effort to mirror the traditional tent decorations at the Munich festival.

About 35 students will spend the last half-hour of each day before the Oktoberfest  painting, silkscreening and cutting material. They’ll use cloth, paint and silk screen materials donated by the Soulard Oktoberfest to create the festival’s artwork and decorations. Besides silkscreening the Oktoberfest logo will be placed on the lightweight, thin, polyester fabric, students will use brightly-painted exterior paint in the festival’s reds, yellows and greens. Following the festival, Oktoberfest will make a $2,000 donation for supplies at the school.

McKinstry explains comments from neighborhood groups suggesting the festival site needed a more attendee friendly atmosphere motivated its redesign efforts.

In additional to the extensive artwork by students at the Central Visual Performing Arts High School, the festival is sprucing up festival grounds by bringing in more than 100 white pines (Christmas trees), decorated with festive lights, to better give the Oktoberfest a “ German atmosphere.”


WHAT’S NEW AT OKTOBERFEST FOR 2013?                                         


While dad and mom enjoy the festival, kids can experience the festival’s latest state-of-the-art carnival rides by Fun Family Entertainment. Kids can experience the four-station Xtreme Bungee Trampoline; the Xtreme Gyroscope, an ultimate simulator motion ride similar to what NASA and the Air Force uses for training astronauts and jet fighters; “Taurus the Terrible,” an exciting mechanical bull ride; the Cannon Ball Airblaster and a six-set kiddie vintage swing ride for the little kids. Fun Family Entertainment provides rides for events throughout the St. Louis metro area. In addition, Oktoberfest will also feature a baseball pitch game and coffin ride.



The Soulard Oktoberfest also is showing its support for Union members on Sunday with “Union Appreciation Day.” For the past two years, the Unions have supplied the beer labor, beer delivery and hook-ups for the Oktoberfest. And to honor Union members this year, anyone with a valid Union membership ID will receive a free Oktoberfest beer mug for himself and his spouse. The festive will also be showcasing Union banners across festival grounds.

“The Soulard Oktoberfest is a great event for the City of St. Louis,” says Larry Tinker, president of Teamsters Local 600. “Oktoberfest offers a great place for Union members to get together and share a few beers while supporting the city and the festival and to show that we are proud to be Union members.”

Admission to the Oktoberfest is free on Sunday, but half the proceeds from the Sunday Oktoberfest admission donations will benefit the Fellowship for Christian Athletes.



GENERAL FESTIVAL ADMISSION: $10. The 2013 Soulard Oktoberfest will be held two blocks east from the Soulard Market on 3rd and Lafayette streets. Admission is free on Sunday.


Friday, Oct. 11: 5 p.m. to midnight: $75

Saturday, Oct 12: 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: $75

Saturday, Oct 12: 4:30 p.m. to midnight: $95

* Any 2 Events (Friday Night & Saturday Day; Friday Night & Saturday Night; or

Saturday Day & Saturday Night): $150

* All 3 Events (Friday Night, Saturday Day and Saturday Night): $200



Home Games during Oktoberfest

Package includes: Parking/shuttle to and from Busch Stadium, Soulard Oktoberfest admission and beer mug.

Away games during Oktoberfest:

Enjoy the Cards game on a 24-foot screen in the special game tents; VIP or guarded parking; Soulard Oktoberfest admission, beer mug and 2-liter beers.


FESTIVAL HOURS: Friday: 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m.; and Sunday: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Go to, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and download our new mobile website for the latest updates on the 2013 festival.


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