Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest…it seems Oktoberfest is all that’s on my mind these days. With less than a month and counting my team and I are in full speed Oktoberfest mode. This year marks the 27th Annual Oktoberfest, kicking off Wednesday September 12 and running through Friday September 14.
As I reflect back on the last 26 years, I am amazed as to how the Fest has grown and developed. What started as an indoor festival in September of 1984, soon moved outdoors the following year, due to high attendance. Modeled after the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, the world’s largest fair is a 16-18 day festival held annually. Of course one difference being that we hold our Oktoberfest in September, a tradition that started from the beginning. If you ask my mom, Jan Berghoff, who began the Oktoberfest celebrations, she’ll ask “have you ever tried to spend time outdoors in Chicago in October? It’s just too cold.”
With exception to the month, this year we are taking our Oktoberfest back to how it all began, as a wedding celebration for the royal couple (Crowne Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen). We too will be crowning our own Prince & Princess of Oktoberfest. Engaged couples have submitted their applications and soon the voting process on social media will begin. The winners will not only receive the title, but a free rehearsal dinner at the Berghoff! While attracting 5 million visitors like they do in Munich is still a goal, I am proud to say that Berghoff’s Oktoberfest is now the longest and largest running Oktoberfest in Chicago. Much like the original Oktoberfest, we too serve our own (Berghoff) Oktoberfest beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, barbeque chicken thighs, pretzels, apple strudel, and many more, while enjoying true Chicago culture. Also new to the Fest this year is a VIP Experience, perfect for groups looking to relax and enjoy Oktoberfest in a private space. Berghoff Oktoberfest continues to attract hungry, thirsty, and happy Chicagoans year after year and I can’t wait to see what is in store for us this September, not to mention celebrate with our new Prince & Princess!