Tempe Oktoberfest

An introduction to the Tempe Oktoberfest

Unlike in Bavaria, the weather in Tempe in the US state of Arizona is pretty reliably good at Oktoberfest time.
I guess that’s why the short, but punchy Tempe Oktoberfest is an outdoor affair, with most action taking place in Tempe Beach Park. The park sits on the bank of Tempe Town Lake, a long dam which connects to Salt River.
The dam burst in 2010 emptying the lake and giving that year’s Oktoberfest a fairly different feel. The Oktoberfest in Tempe takes place on the first weekend in October and usually attracts over 150,000 revellers.

Background

oktoberfest-tempe

GOOD TIMES: Visitors at the Oktoberfest in Tempe, Arizona. Pic: Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ

It was the volunteer spirit that popped the first keg at the Oktoberfest in Tempe in 1973.

The party is has become the biggest volunteer-produced event in Arizona, with more than 2000 people pitching in to help put on the show.
Anyone can volunteer, if you’re interested see this page on the organsiers’ website here.

The Tempe Sister City Corporation administers the event and pumps the proceeds into school exchange schemes and other community programs.

Events and entertainment

The Tempe Oktoberfest kicks off with a children’s parade through the streets in the evening of the first day. The kids come from local middle schools and wave flags from around the world.
The tapping of the first keg of beer follows.
Foot races take place on Saturday morning. There are two courses, one stretching over 5km (3mi) and the other over 8km (5mi). The courses start and end at Tempe Beach Park and follow Tempe Town Lake.
There are both running and walking events.
tempe-oktoberfest

SPIN: A carnival ride at the Tempe Oktoberfest. Pic: Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ

There’s a steady program of outdoor musical entertainment with typically more than 20 bands playing two stages.
Complementing traditional German groups is an eclectic mix including rock, country, jazz, Motown and funk bands.
Organisers promise “non-stop polka” on the Polka Stage near Tempe Beach Park’s main entrance.

A Kinderfest makes sure the kids don’t get bored while the parental units are enjoying the beer. Among the children’s activities are carnival rides including a super slide, a “craft zone”, and obstacle courses.
Other kid-friendly factors are a Hansel and Gretel Village, a strudel-eating contest and performers like fire eaters and cowboy stilt walkers.

Food and drink

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PLAY: Musicians take the stage at the Tempe Town Lake. Pic: Pupkin

One of the most popular areas is the Beers of the World garden where you can try brews on tap from around the globe.
There’s also a wine garden where you can try some local bubbly.

Stereotypical German cuisine like bratwurst and sauerkraut are on offer alongside the usual variety of Mexican and barbecued food offered by vendors throughout the park.

More information

When’s it on? The Tempe Oktoberfest is on the first weekend (Friday to a Saturday) in October.
Times
Friday open 5pm to midnight, Saturday 10am to midnight, Sunday 10am to 6pm.
Cost Admission is free!
Address Tempe Beach Park, Tempe, AZ 85281 United States
Phone 00 1 480-838-2362
Website www.tempeoktoberfest.com
Facebook page is here


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