Celebrate Oktoberfest in New Ulm

Today kicks off New Ulm’s 30th anniversary Oktoberfest celebration (Sept. 30 & Oct. 1 and Oct. 7 & 8). The festival honors the German heritage of the New Ulm, founded in 1854. Last year, USA Today named New Ulm one of the top 10 places to celebrate Oktoberfest, so strap on some lederhosen and join the celebration.

Photo by Todd Buchanan

For its German roots and Oktoberfest celebration, we called New Ulm (just under an hour southwest of Minneapolis) a “Mini Munich” in our October issue and shared some ways to enjoy a visit there, like visiting the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, dining on German food at Veigel’s Kaiserhoff or enjoying music at the Grand Kabaret.

The city’s Oktoberfest festival is celebrated annually at the Holiday Inn and around downtown. Held for two weekends a year since 1981, the festival features live music, German food, and locally brewed beer (or should I say bier). Listen to New Ulm’s own Concord Singers, polka bands, and more, then stroll the shops of New Ulm to get a feel for the city.

Any New Ulm adventure ought to include a stop at August Schell Brewing Company, which was founded in 1860 by a German immigrant. Tours of the brewery (extended hours during Oktoberfest) share the history of the family and the brewery, and of course, conclude with a sampling.

Nearby Morgan Creek Vineyards also offers several October events, with Cambria Crush: The Annual Great Grape Stomp, held Saturday, Oct. 1. During the Crush, teams gather to stomp their way to victory. For more fun that day, head over to Say Cheese! & Savor the Wine, a wine and cheese tasting experience. Throughout the month, the vineyard also presents Winedown for the Weekend with live jazz and classical music, wine and wood-fired flatbread pizzas (Friday evenings). Tours and tastings at the winery are offered Saturdays and Sundays.

Have you been to New Ulm’s Oktoberfest? What did you enjoy?