After a successful debut last year, Elktoberfest is returning to Elkhart Lake Sept. 29–30. The weekend celebration, which honors German heritage, is Elkhart Lake’s creative twist on the traditional Oktoberfest celebrations held in other locales.
The bash begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the Stein Social, held in the iconic Siebkens alleyway and outdoor space.
Grab a commemorative Elktoberfest stein, then stroll around the grounds while a polka band performs toe-tapping favorites. Fill your stein with one of the Oktoberfest brews that will be available at outdoor bars, or try your hand at one of the games geared toward grown-ups. If you enjoy costumes, arrive in Bavarian duds and vie for the title of best Bavarian attire. Keep an eye out for Elroy the Elk, the party’s mascot — he’ll be available for selfies.
The fun continues on Saturday, beginning with the Elktoberfest Wine & Beer Run. Participants can down root beer, craft beer and wine during and after the 5K race. Later in the day, the village’s SwitchGear Brewing Company will tap its traditional Oktoberfest beer, which is Elktoberfest’s signature brew. Don’t fill up with too much beer, though, as there’s a brat-eating contest later in the day, along with a German potato salad cook-off. The event concludes with everyone grooving to the tunes of a live band, playing on the lawn of the Shore Club.
ELKTOBERFEST IS FOR KIDS, TOO!
Unlike some Oktoberfest celebrations, Elktoberfest is appropriate for kids, too! A special Root Beer Garten geared toward the younger ones will be open in Village Square Park on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Kids can jump in bouncy houses, paint pumpkins and take part in a variety of children’s games, activities and crafts. Face-painting and a petting zoo are part of the fun, too. But best of all, there will be plenty of free root beer on hand.
DON’T MISS THE FARMERS’ AND ARTISANS MARKET
The Elkhart Lake’s Farmers’ and Artisans Market is a popular Saturday morning tradition. Held late May through early October, more than 50 vendors set up shop downtown, selling fresh vegetables, flowers, cheeses, specialty products and even artwork. Every item is produced locally, often by the person behind the stand. Keep an eye out for local favorites like Crème de la Crème, which sells crème brûlée, and the Hmong and Asian Foods stand, where you can score crab Rangoon, spring rolls and egg rolls. Don’t miss Toad Frog Studio, which offers handcrafted journals created from beloved books, like those that are part of the Nancy Drew and Harry Potter series.
Plan your visit at elkhartlake.com