Oktoberfest Tulsa 2016 has come and passed, and I must say, Oklahoma knows how to put on a German beer festival. Tulsa is known for having one of the most authentic faux-Oktoberfest events in the United States, and after a weekend spent there, I cannot disagree.
Here’s everything you need to know to survive the weekend:
Festival Information. . .
Oktoberfest Tulsa takes place annually at River West Festival Park and actually extends longer than just the weekend. Gates to the event open up at 5 p.m. Thursday and stay open until the foregoing Sunday night. Tickets are $10, but discounted tickets can be bought in advance online for $7.
Believe it or not, this beer festival is family friendly and I can actually recommend it as it seems to be good fun for all ages. Plus, kids 12 and under receive free admission. Wristbands for rides can also be purchased for $20 for all-day access. Giant tents that model that of the ones seen at the real Munich Oktoberfest in Germany can be seen well outside the gates.
Getting There. . .
There is limited parking offered at the festival grounds for $10 or $20 VIP parking. It is recommended that you take advantage of free shuttles leaving from multiple places throughout Downtown Tulsa among other locations.
Directly from the Oktoberfest Tulsa website (where the shuttle picks up/drops off):
The Downtown Loop includes the Blue Dome District, The Tulsa Doubletree Hotel, Hyatt Regency Downtown and the Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center. The NEW Downtown Express Shuttle will operate directly from the Tulsa Transit Hub on South Denver Street to the Festival site. Shuttles will also service parking areas at the Trade Winds Central Inn and the Crowne Plaza Southern Hills.
See map for more details. The shuttles run 1 hour before and after festival hours and will operate on Corporate Night (Wednesday) as well. The Downtown shuttles run every 5-10 minutes; the south shuttles run every 20-30 minutes.
In addition, a student-friendly “party crowd” can be found taking the shuttle. This is a FREE system offered by the German bar, Fassler Hall, on Elgin Ave. I highly suggest taking this as a good opportunity to meet fellow festival-goers.
Oktoberfest Tulsa offers over 50 traditional German beers in traditional one liter Oktoberfest beer steins. In order to have one of these beers, you will need to either purchase your own beer stein for $3 at the festival or simply bring your own from home. Also, you will need to buy your beer with tickets that you can purchase in tents near the front entrance of the festival.
Beers at Oktoberfest will run you about $12 for German beer or $10 for domestic (live a little, drink a German beer!) Expensive, but don’t forget you get one whole liter of strong beer for the price as well as free festival entertainment.
In addition to getting a taste of traditional German food and beer, don’t forget to take in some of the great examples of German culture offered at Oktoberfest Tulsa! All day, you will be suffocated with traditional German music, dancing, and dress. (The bands are flown in from Germany to provide the most authentic experience possible!) The best spot for good music and a lively atmosphere is the Mittelpünkt Party Tent. It’s also where the most popular bands will perform throughout the day.
For guys, the traditional Oktoberfest attire is a pair of leather Lederhosen shorts, suspenders, and an alpine hat. For girls, it is common to see the traditional Bavarian Dirndl dress. Don’t be timid to get yourself one – there will be plenty of people wearing them! You won’t be the only goofy-looking person at the festival, trust me!
In addition to people watching, music, and beer drinking, there are also a plethora of rides at Oktoberfest Tulsa offered for a fee. There are also merchants at booths selling German art and knick knacks that can be fun to check out.
Other activities to do in Tulsa. . .
While in Tulsa, there is plenty to do in addition to Oktoberfest to keep you busy for a decent weekend trip. While there, I attended Tulsa University’s Homecoming tailgate and football game which usually corresponds on the same weekend as Oktoberfest. It was good fun for a good price. The downtown is a thriving and growing area. There are a bunch of restaurants and bars that seem to be catered to millennials.
You will find that Tulsa, Oklahoma is a grand spot to host an Oktoberfest. You will leave hoping to make it back the following year. At least I did!
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