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O'zapft is!
The traditional cheer that heralds the ceremonial tapping of the keg to mark the onset of Oktoberfest will soon be heard throughout the streets of Soulard.

Fall is made for festivals and the Soulard Oktoberfest will usher in an array of authentic German events, entertainment and food from Oct. 3-5 at the Soulard Market Plaza , soccer field and on the corner of 8th and Lafayette avenues to “willkommen” the centuries-old Oktoberfest celebration.

“The Soulard Oktoberfest brings a taste of Munich to your backyard,” says Oktoberfest spokesperson Victor Wendl, whose great grandfather was a founder of the German Cultural Society in St. Louis. “More people in St. Louis and the United States, for that matter, can trace their heritage to a German background. The Soulard Oktoberfest is the quintessential way to honor and celebrate our city’s German roots and heritage.”

Soulard OktoberfestWhile the spirited Soulard neighborhood may have been founded by Frenchman Antoine Soulard in the mid-18th century, it was the Germans who actually built the brick and mortar of the Soulard neighborhood and brought the area to life.

“Soulard and St. Louis are stepped in German heritage,” explains Don Kirby, president of the Soulard Restoration Group. “Oktoberfest offers the perfect opportunity to spotlight the impact the German culture has had on the history, architecture and vibrancy of the Soulard neighborhood.”
Johnny Daus, president of the Soulard Business Association, adds that Oktoberfest also offers people the chance enjoy a total Soulard experience. “In addition to all the Oktoberfest events, revelers can visit an array of Soulard establishments and enjoy delicious food and drinks and fantastic entertainment,” he says. “Oktoberfest defines the camaraderie, fellowship and fun of Soulard.”

Tapping into tradition
Soulard Oktoberfest honors the German tradition that began 175 years ago when the Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. Today, the Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest festival in the world.

And the Soulard Oktoberfest is the fastest growing Oktoberfest in America.
From the authentic traditional German meal of bratwurst, pork and schweinshaxe (pig’s knuckles) served on beer benches imported from Munich to the entertainment — the Bavarian party-band Chikeria, the band that made the Milwaukee German Fest famous, and Obenheimer Express’ lively partyfest brass signature sound from Alsace on the German/French border — the Soulard Oktoberfest truly mirrors the legendary festival in Munich.

“We’ve really elevated the authenticity of the festival with the addition of an array of traditional Oktoberfest events and entertainment as well offering a true German Oktoberfest meal,” explains Wendl, whose been to many festivals throughout Germany. “The combination of authentic German food and our first class entertainment acts that are flying in from Germany, truly brings a taste of Munich to Soulard.”

Festival firsts: Here’s the scoop on what’s new this year at Oktoberfest:

Girls, girls, girls
The Soulard Oktoberfest is proud to present the most attractive addition to this year’s festival: the stunning Soulard Oktoberfest Frauleins. You can mingle with the striking Soulard Frauleins at several Oktoberfest events. And then vote for your favorite Fraulein at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The ladies will be presented on the Anheuser-Busch stage by Johnny Daus, president of the Soulard Business Association. Votes cost $1, and all proceeds will be donated to the Soulard Business Association’s safety program. Festival founders reveal that some lucky guy will get a sweet kiss from the lovely lady who’s crowned Soulard’s most fabulous Fraulein.

A trio of tents
In true tradition of the legendary Munich Oktoberfest, the Soulard festival is featuring three tents this year, honoring the German tradition of each brewer featuring its craftbeers in a signature tent. The individual brewer tents enhance the authenticity of the Oktoberfest, truly bringing a taste of Munich to Soulard.
The Hofbrau-Autohaus tent features authentic German music, food and traditions that mirrors the festival in Munich while the Anheuser Busch offers a mix of German and American flavors. The Spaten tent caters to the younger crowd with live broadcasts by 105.7 The Point and lively partyfest music. The signature tents allow patrons to partake in a unique Oktoberfest experience by offering a wide variety of events and entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Drink up with 105.7 the Point
The first annual Soulard Oktoberfest Mug Crawl kicked off the Oktoberfest celebration this year in August. With the purchase of a commemorative Oktoberfest 20-oz. stein for $6, patrons can endlessly fill their mugs at an array of participating Soulard bars and restaurants for discounted refills on a variety of featured beers until Oct. 5.

The seven-week Oktoberfest Mug Crawl is a partnership with 105.7 The Point and offers an unprecedented opportunity to sample a variety of specialty beers at discounted prices at dozens of Soulard establishments. The August mug crawl was so successful, the Point is hosting another crawl across Soulard Saturday, Sept 12.

Festivities begin with a live Point broadcast from 8 to 10 p.m. at Llywelyn's Pub, at the corner of 9th and Soulard, with stops at 1860 Salon and Hardshell Café, Johnny’s and Nadine’s to name a few. There will be tons of Point prizes and giveaways, including a chance to win Pointfest tickets at every stop along the crawl.
Mugs are still available at select bars, so get your commemorative mug, raise your beer glass high — and keep refilling it. Prost!

City officials and festival founders join FOX 2’s John Pertzborn, to kick off the three-day festival with the annual color guard flag ceremony followed by the tapping of a 200-liter handcrafted keg with an authentic mallet, honoring the centuries-old German festival tradition. The Oktoberfest celebration officially gets underway at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Hofbrau Tent on Soulard Market Plaza.

A team of eight Clydesdales, the folkloric sounds of Alpen horns, curved wooden horn stretching nearly 20 feet that were originally used in the Alps to call cows to pasture, along with the world’s longest brat and dozens of traditional, craft and home brews beer samplings set the stage for the Anheuser-Busch Grand Opening Ceremony at noon on Saturday, Oct. 4 in the Anheuser-Busch Platz.
The lovely Soulard Oktoberfest Frauleins will be presented on stage, and patrons can also cast their vote for $1 on their favorite fraulein. Proceeds benefit the Soulard Business Association Street Safety program.

Other Oktoberfest highlights include the high-energy polka-meets-rock sounds of Brave Combo, the St. Louis ensemble that won two Grammys for “Best Polka Album.” AB Brewmasters and the St. Louis Brews Home Club will also host a craftbrew presentations with samplings of signature beers. The Spaten tent hosts the Miss Soulard Oktoberfest Pageant, Arch Rival Rollergirls and live broadcasts with 105.7 The Point.

Celebrating culture and community
Wendl explains that Oktoberfest not only aims to bring St. Louis a celebration of German culture while showcasing the vibrant pubs and restaurants of Soulard, but it also helps fill the void left by the folding of the Strassenfest, the longtime German festival that was held downtown for decades.
Oktoberfest plans on continuing the community outreach programs funded by Strassenfest, which include the funding of a wing at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the rebuilding the steps to the St. Louis City Library.
“We want to continue the tradition of giving back to the community,” says Wendl, whose uncle served as the director of Strassenfest for years. “As Oktoberfest continues to grow and becomes more and more successful, we aim to fund educational and community programs that benefit St. Louis children.”

And there’s lots of family fun to be had at Oktoberfest. Kids can play all day at the Karneval for Kids, which features inflatable carnival rides at the Soulard Market Playground. Autohaus has teamed up with the Gene Slay Boys Club of St Louis to host the “Kick the Ball, Win a Bimmer Contest,” a soccer game where contestants can win an Autohaus BMW and other prizes. Proceeds from the Autohaus contest will be donated to the Boys Club of St. Louis.
The whole family will enjoy perusing the fine art at the Soulard Art Mart show in the Soulard Market Pavilion. A German Mass will also be held at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at St. John Nepomuk.

Soulard Oktoberfest founder John McKinstry explains that the festival offers a lot more than beers and brats.
“People travel from all around the Midwest and even Europe to partake in the Soulard Oktoberfest celebration,” he says. “This festival offers a unique opportunity for everyone to experience a taste of German culture and experience the vibrancy and excitement of the Soulard neighborhood.”


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