During the months of August, September and October, many Ohio cities and communities will be celebrating a particular festival called Oktoberfest. This festival, originating from the wedding celebrations of King Ludwig I (then Kronprinz Ludwig) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810, is celebrated annually in Munich and is known for its beer, music, amusement rides and games.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, Oktoberfest celebrations are traditionally enjoyed with German food (i.e. bratwurst, schnitzel), German beer and some great German dance music. Better Oktoberfests have more food and beer selections, various competitions (beer stein challenges), and plenty of guests who are dressed in lederhosen and dirndl (great Oktoberfests also sell them). Throw in a chicken dance, maybe even a weiner dog race, and the festival becomes epic.
In short, Oktoberfests are fun, sometimes rowdy, and they’re plentiful in Ohio.
So plentiful, in fact, that I’ve decided to give you a guide of Ohio Oktoberfests and German Festivals to help you better plan for the months ahead.
Ohio Oktoberfests and German Festivals That You Need to Visit
Oktoberfests come in all shapes and sizes in Ohio. That’s why I wanted to give you a short list of festivals that you need to visit at least once in your life. In my opinion, these are the best Germanic festivals that Ohio has to offer.
I will list them in order of their dates…
Germanfest Picnic – Dayton
Dates: August 13-15, 2021
Description: Recently relocated to the St. Anne’s Hill Historic District, this festival offers all sorts of German food, a biergarten with bier, wein and lively music, food and craft vendors, a Kinder Korner. While I did enjoy the old location of Carillon Park, I’m really excited for the St. Anne’s Hill location, as it will add some old world charm.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/germanfest-picnic-dayton/
German-American Festival – Oregon
Dates: August 27-29, 2021
Description: This is a very popular festival and rightly so. The festival grounds are beautiful and, with the decoration and setup, you really feel like you could be in Germany. There are rides, bier gartens and wein bars, all sorts of German food, contests and competitions, crafts, entertainment and more. The only thing I don’t like is the food ticket system, but keep in mind that you can buy credits online while purchasing your admission ticket.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/51-german-american-festival-oregon-august-27-2010/
Cleveland Oktoberfest – Berea/Middleburg Heights
Dates: September 3-6 and 10-11, 2021
Description: There’s a second weekend this year at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, giving you more opportunities to enjoy the weiner dog races, marionette shows, sand sculptures, and Glockenspiel giveaways. There are also a large assortment of Germanic foods and beer, an art and craft market, Bavarian shopping, children’s activities, German dance and even some Polka.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/54-cleveland-labor-day-oktoberfest-berea-september-3-2010/
Springboro Oktoberfest – Springboro
Dates: September 10-11, 2021
Description: This Oktoberfest Celebration at the United Church of Christ is a rather impressive one with a nice assortment of German dinners, sides, wursts, snacks and desserts. Everything from schnitzel and semmelknoedel (bread dumplings) to cream puffs and lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart cookies) – not to mention the schnapps, ciders, wines and beer (over 40 varieties). There are also kids’ activities, games and competitions, entertainment and just a lot of fun to be had.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/springboro-oktoberfest/
Columbus Oktoberfest – Columbus
Dates: September 10-12, 2021
Description: After eating Schmidt sausages and cream puffs at all the other Oktoberfests, you can finally come to the Oktoberfest that the Schmidt family has been a part of from the beginning. Located at the Ohio Expo Center, the Columbus Oktoberfest offers festival fans a children’s area, a stone toss competition, a Marketplatz with tons of vendors, 3 stages of great entertainment, Bier Halls, a Wine Garten and a great assortment of German foods (including brats, sauerkraut balls, potato pancakes and deep fried Reubens on a stick). Since most of the grounds is covered, weather isn’t much of an issue.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/72-columbus-oktoberfest-september-24-2010/
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, USA – Cincinnati
Dates: September 17-19, 2021
Description: Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the largest Oktoberfest in the United States and the second largest in the world (coming right after the one in Munich, Germany) with over half a million visitors every year. It’s also home to the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, fun weiner dog races and plenty of goetta dishes, which is a particularly special thing to those in and around Cincinnati. Honestly, if you want some great food offerings and entertainment, this is a definite Oktoberfest to check out. Unfortunately for me, I came on a rainy evening – but, honestly, even that experience was a great one.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/oktoberfest-zinzinnati-usa-cincinnati/
Dates: September 24-26, 2021
Description: This Oktoberfest is a little different than the others because it takes place at The Dayton Art Institute, where festival goers are given access to dozens of local artists who sell everything from paintings and pottery to repurposed jewelry and hand puppets. Those seeking German grub, beer and music will not be disappointed, as this Oktoberfest has some great offerings in all three of those categories. But if brats aren’t your thing, the festival also has selections that include seafood, arepas and gyros.
My Experience: https://ohiofestivals.net/dayton-oktoberfest/
The Ohio Oktoberfest and German Festival List
Now that you know some of my favorites, I thought I would give you the complete list of Ohio’s Oktoberfests and German Festivals.
Each listing has a link to the official website while some have a link to my personal experience at that festival when noted with “My Review.”
If there is an Oktoberfest you don’t see listed, feel free to write me and I will add it.
I hope you find some great Oktoberfests to check out this summer and fall!
8/1 – Eastlake Oktoberfest – Eastlake
8/13-8/14 – Seven Mile Oktoberfest – Seven Mile
8/13-8/15 – Germanfest Picnic – Dayton – My Review
8/19-8/21 – Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival – Bucyrus – My Review
8/20-8/22 – Cleveland Donauschwaben Sommer Oktoberfest I – Olmsted Township – My Review
8/27-8/28 – Cleveland Donauschwaben Sommer Oktoberfest II – Olmsted Township – My Review
8/27-8/29 – German-American Festival – Oregon – My Review
8/28 – Kamm’s Oktoberfest – Cleveland
9/3-9/6 – Cleveland Oktoberfest I – Berea/Middleburg Heights – My Review
9/10-9/11 – German Central’s Oktoberfest – Parma
9/10-9/11 – Cleveland Oktoberfest II – Berea/Middleburg Heights – My Review
9/10-9/11 – Springboro Oktoberfest – Springboro – My Review
9/10-9/12 – German Family Society Oktoberfest – Kent
9/10-9/12 – Columbus Oktoberfest – Columbus – My Review
9/11 – Lutheran Oktoberfest – Brooklyn
9/17-9/18 – New Vienna Oktoberfest – New Vienna
9/17-9/18 – Vandalia Oktoberfest – Vandalia
9/17-9/19 – Cuyahoga Falls Oktoberfest – Cuyahoga Falls – My Review
9/17-9/19 – Germania Oktoberfest – Columbus
9/17-9/19 – Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, USA – Cincinnati – My Review
9/18 – G3-Growing Greater Greenfield Oktoberfest – Greenfield
9/24-9/25 – St. Boniface Oktoberfest – Piqua
9/24-9/25 – Loveland Oktoberfest – Loveland
9/24-9/25 – Fort Loramie German Heritage Days – Fort Loramie – My Review
9/24-9/25* – Oktoberfest Youngstown – Youngstown – MORE INFO NEEDED
9/24-9/26 – The Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest – Dayton – My Review
9/24-9/26 – St. Jude Oktoberfest – Cincinnati
9/25 – Oktoberfest at the Mill – Loudonville
9/25 – Oktoberfest – Findlay
9/25 – Pickerington Oktoberfest – Pickerington
9/25 – Minerva Oktoberfest – Minerva
9/25* – Oktoberfest – Painesville – MORE INFO NEEDED
9/30-10/2* – Greek Oktoberfest Festival – Massillon – My Review – MORE INFO NEEDED
9/30-10/2 – Galion Oktoberfest – Galion
10/1-10/2 – Christ Our Savior Parish Oktoberfest – Struthers
10/1-10/3 – Donauschwaben Oktoberfest – Cincinnati
10/1-10/3 – Minster Oktoberfest – Minster
10/2* – Grove City Oktoberfest – Grove City – MORE INFO NEEDED
10/2 – Slovenska Pristava Oktoberfest – Harpersfield
10/2* – Main Street Kent Oktoberfest – Kent – MORE INFO NEEDED
10/2 – Dayton German Club Oktoberfest – Dayton
10/3 – Boardman Rotary Oktoberfestival – Boardman
10/7-10/10 – Beaver Oktoberfest – Beaver
10/9 – Lebanon Oktoberfest – Lebanon
10/9 – Put-In-Bay’s Island Oktoberfest – Put-In-Bay
10/9 – The UrbanWoody Brewery Oktoberfest – Fostoria
10/9-10/10* – Kiwanis Oktoberfest – West Alexandria – My Review – MORE INFO NEEDED
As the dates draw closer, I will do my best to update the above list.
Have a great summer/fall, everyone, and be sure to visit plenty of festivals!