Oktoberfest: Area celebrations abound with plenty of beer, brats and oom-pah-pah 

  • Ye Olde Forge in Lanesborough holds its traditional festival with beer, food and games Oct. 21. YE OLDE FORGE

  • Ye Olde Forge in Lanesborough holds its traditional festival with beer, food and games Oct. 21. YE OLDE FORGE

  • Ye Olde Forge in Lanesborough holds its traditional festival with beer, food and games Oct. 21. YE OLDE FORGE

  • Beer in mug on wooden table near brick wall Givaga—Getty Images/iStockphoto

  • Panorama of the intertwined branches of hops with seed cones and leaves on a white background An-T—Getty Images/iStockphoto

  • Beer. Oktoberfest.Two cold beers and pretzel. Draft beer. But draft. Golden beer. Golden however. Two gold beer with froth on top. Cold draft beer in glass jars in a hotel pub or restaurant. Still life. MarianVejcik—Getty Images/iStockphoto

For the Gazette
Monday, October 16, 2017

Editor’s note: This story was changed on Oct. 16, 2017, to remove an incorrect listing for the Gateway City Arts Czechtober Fest, which occurred on October 14.

Like many of our most colorful traditions, Oktoberfest began with a royal wedding.

A grand celebration of love in the fields of Bavaria in 1810 sparked an annual tradition of horse racing, food, merriment and — of course — malty, amber beer.

The beer style known as Oktoberfest is typically a Marzen, a dark beer with a caramel-like flavor profile. The beer became synonymous with the annual October festival because it was traditionally brewed during the summer months, making October the best time to reap the brew’s rewards.

Can’t make it to Germany to experience the beloved tradition? Western Massachusetts is a fine place to celebrate. The area has all of the fields, food and locally brewed beer you could ask for.

Here are some events that’ll have you busting out your dirndl and lederhosen.

The annual celebration at Student Prince, 8 Fort St., Springfield, began Thursday and runs through Saturday boasting German food and a family-friendly element. The autumn block party which started Thursday continues Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. with live music both inside the restaurant and outside in the beergarden. Music runs through 10:30 p.m. Also on Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Shriners clowns will greet children outside with games and face painting. The children’s event is free, while the tickets for the nighttime celebration cost $15, and include a free stein of beer. A portion of each ticket sale, $5, will be donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield.

A little father afield, the 20th Annual Mount Snow Oktoberfest in West Dover, Vermont, begins Saturday at 11 a.m. and runs through Sunday at 4 p.m. with plenty of beer, schnitzel and oom-pah music, and also kids games, pumpkin painting, an apple slingshot and the famous “schnitzel toss.” This two-day event was named a “2017 Top 10 Fall Event” by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

For a modernized version of the celebration there’s the third annual Oktoberfest Amherst, which takes place outdoors at the Young Men’s Club, 138 East St., Hadley, beginning at noon on Oct. 14. Get your groove on to live music as you enjoy the beer of the season. There also will be contests, games, and an opportunity to win a trip to the original Oktoberfest in Germany. “Amherst and Munich may be 3,900 miles apart, but at Oktoberfest Massachusetts, that distance can be crossed with a single swig of beer,” reads the event description. General admission costs $20.

At Holyoke’s Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road, Holyoke, you’ll find “the swingin’est German band in the land!” in town for an Oktoberfest luncheon on Oct. 24. Pianist Jeff Barnhart will lead the band through German tunes, “from polkas to parodies.” The event menu features family-style jaeger schnitzel, knockwurst and bratwurst.

At Munich Haus, 13 Center St., Chicopee, from Oct. 20 through Oct. 28 there’ll be music and a German feast. The buffet menu offers a whole roasted pig, Oktoberfest-style chicken, saurbraten, schnitzels, spatzel, sauerkraut and a Vienna-style dessert station. Featured musicians are the Berkshire Mountain Wanderers and The Vagabonds. Shows start at 6 p.m. on the last two Fridays and Saturdays of the month. For $27.95 you get the buffet, live music and one stein of beer.

On Oct. 21, beginning at noon, Ye Olde Forge, 125 North Main St., Lanesborough will boast all its usual games, food and beer that have drawn hundreds throughout the region over the past 15 years. There’ll be a keg toss, a kaiser roll toss, beer barrel bowling and bottle cap fun for all ages. Each year the staff dons the traditional garb as German music sets the tone.

The ceremonial tapping of the Oktoberfest keg happens at 5 p.m. The restaurant will also boast bratwurst, rouladin, spaetzels, knackwurst, and other traditional German items for two weeks beginning Oct. 20.

And since horses harken back to the event’s beginnings, why not mark the occasion by checking out some local best beasts at the Twin State Octoberfest Horse Show? The event happens at the Eastern States Exposition’s coliseum, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Oct. 26-29. Admission is free. Prized horses will be honored and there will be Halloween decorations and a costume contest.