Oktoberfest in Iowa

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Oktoberfest is a popular festival that originated in Germany and is now celebrated in various parts of the world. In Iowa, there are several Oktoberfest celebrations that offer an authentic German experience with traditional food, music, and beer. This article will explore Oktoberfest celebrations in Iowa. Two exceptionally are worth mentioning, Dubuque Oktoberfest and Des Moines Oktoberfest.


Dubuque Oktoberfest

Dubuque Oktoberfest is a three-day event that is held annually in September. The festival is organized by the Dubuque Jaycees and features traditional German food, beer, and live music. The event takes place at the Dubuque Star Brewery, which was once the oldest operating brewery in the state. The brewery was founded in 1856 and was a popular destination for beer enthusiasts until it closed its doors in 1961. Today, the brewery is a historic landmark and serves as a fitting venue for the Dubuque Oktoberfest.

The festival kicks off on Friday evening with a ceremonial tapping of the keg, followed by a variety of live music performances. On Saturday, the festival hosts a 5K run and walk, a keg toss competition, and a bratwurst eating contest. In addition to the live music, there are also dance performances by local German groups. The festival concludes on Sunday with a traditional Polka Mass at St. Mary's Church. 

Dubuque Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Des Moines Oktoberfest

Des Moines Oktoberfest is a two-day event that takes place in the Historic Court District in downtown Des Moines. The festival is organized by the Des Moines Jaycees and features a variety of traditional German food and beer, as well as live music performances. The festival also includes a Stein Holding competition, a Best Dressed contest, and a Lederhosen 5K run and walk.

One of the highlights of the Des Moines Oktoberfest is the beer selection. The festival features over 40 different types of beer, including traditional German brews and local craft beers. In addition to the beer, there is also a variety of German food options, including bratwurst, pretzels, and sauerkraut.

The festival also includes a variety of live music performances, with both local and national acts taking the stage. In past years, the festival has hosted acts like Polka Police and the Johnny Holm Band. The festival also features a German dance troupe, which performs traditional German dances throughout the weekend. 

Des Moines Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Amana Oktoberfest

The German ancestry of the Amana Colonies in Iowa is well-known, and this is especially present during their yearly Oktoberfest festival. Visitors can anticipate enjoying traditional German food, beer, music, and dancing during the two weeks of the event in October. A parade, a petting zoo, and arts and crafts merchants are included in the German-themed activities.

One of the highlights of the Amana Oktoberfest is the keg tapping ceremony, which officially kicks off the event. The keg is tapped with a wooden mallet and the first beer is served to the mayor of the Amana Colonies. The festival also features a bratwurst eating contest, where participants compete to see who can eat the most bratwursts in a set amount of time.

The Amana Colonies also provide tours of their historic buildings, such as the Amana Woolen Mill and the Amana Furniture Shop, in addition to the customary Oktoberfest events. The Amana Colonies' lovely stores and eateries, which are renowned for their distinctive gifts and delectable baked foods, are also open to visitors. 

Amana Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Waverly Oktoberfest

Waverly, Iowa is a small town with a big Oktoberfest celebration. The Waverly Oktoberfest takes place in September, features live music, authentic German food and beer. The festival is held in Kohlmann Park, which is transformed into a Bavarian village for the weekend.

A carnival, a craft fair, and a 5K race are just a few of the entertainment options available at the Waverly Oktoberfest. Visitors can try a range of German beers and wines in the festival's beer garden. Along with a pumpkin farm where families may choose their own pumpkins, there is a kids' area with games and activities.

The authentic German dance performances at the Waverly Oktoberfest are one of its attractions. Visitors can watch as dancers in traditional attire present polka and waltz routines. A competition to see who can hold a full beer stein at arm's length for the longest is also held, known as the "stein-holding competition."

The Waverly Oktoberfest is, all in all, a fun and joyous celebration of German heritage and customs. This Iowa event is not to be missed if you want to indulge in some delectable cuisine and beverages, dance the night away, or just enjoy the environment. 

Waverly Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Iowa Oktoberfest Downtown Waterloo

One of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations in Iowa is the Iowa Oktoberfest in Downtown Waterloo. This annual event is held over a weekend in September and features live music, dancing, food, and of course, beer. The festival takes over the streets of downtown Waterloo and is free to attend. 

Iowa Oktoberfest Downtown Waterloo, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Adventureland Oktoberfest

Another popular Oktoberfest event in Iowa is Adventureland Oktoberfest, which takes place at the Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona. This family-friendly event features live music, games, rides, and, of course, beer. Admission to the park is required, but once inside, the Oktoberfest activities are free.

Adventureland Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Ottumwa Oktoberfest

For those in the southern part of the state, Ottumwa Oktoberfest is a must-attend event. This festival takes place in late September and features live music, German food, and a beer garden. There is also a 5K run/walk, a car show, and other activities throughout the weekend. 

Ottumwa Oktoberfest, Iowa Oktoberfest, USA


Other Oktoberfest in Iowa

Other Iowa Oktoberfest


Northside Oktoberfest

Northside Oktoberfest is a popular celebration in Iowa City. The event offers a variety of German beers and food from local vendors. The festival also features live music and a kids' zone with face painting and other fun activities.


Manning Oktoberfest

A small-town festival called Manning Oktoberfest features live music, traditional German food and beverages. A parade and a number of family-friendly activities are also included in the event. 


Remsen Oktoberfest

Another well-known Oktoberfest in Iowa is Remsen Oktoberfest, which offers authentic German fare, beer, and music. A parade, craft merchants, and a beer tent are all part of the celebration. 




Overall, Iowa's Oktoberfest is a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in traditional German culture without having to travel too far. All Oktoberfest Events provide festival-goers with a wide selection of food, beer, and entertainment options. 

These celebrations are unquestionably worthwhile to attend, regardless of whether you are a seasoned Oktoberfest aficionado or a first-time traveler. So don your lederhosen and head out to an Oktoberfest celebration in Iowa for a fun-filled weekend!


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