Oktoberfest at Tussey Mountain is entering its sixth year, and the annual fall event is packed with Bavarian-style beers, eats and music.
For those in search of traditional Oktoberfest foods, head chef Dan Rallis is putting together a menu of all authentic items, including plenty of kielbasa and sauerkraut. Herwig’s Austrian Bistro will also be on-site, offering its traditional fare.
The array of beer on tap includes authentic German selections just like what you’d find in Munich, such as Hofbräu and Hacker-Pschorr. However, local Oktoberfest varieties, such as those from Otto’s Pub & Brewery, will also be available, as will common domestic versions, such as Sam Adams Octoberfest.
What’s an Oktoberfest celebration, though, without the music?
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“We’ll have the Bavarian Stompers — they’re an authentic polka and Bavarian music band,” said Aaron Weyman, marketing director at Tussey Mountain. “We’re also bringing in Smitty’s Polka Band from New York City. They’ll be playing traditional music, as well as (recognizable) music with a Bavarian twist. So you might get Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline,’ played with an accordion, or even Dr. Dre.”
Smitty’s Polka Band will perform in traditional Bavarian clothing, and the popular headliner highly in demand on the beer festival and Oktoberfest circuit, with its traditional sound and beer hall band instruments, tuba included.
“(It’s) authentic music with traditional twists, so people will know a lot of the songs being performed and sing along, but still feel like they’re at an actual Oktoberfest,” Weyman said.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though. As the night wears on and the temperature drops, a bonfire makes an appearance, becoming a popular spot for eating and drinking during the evening. Games are also on the schedule, such as a stein-hoisting contest and stein races, with festivalgoers competing with overflowing, one-gallon glass mugs.
Prior attendance at Tussey’s Oktoberfest has ranged from a few hundred to more than 1,000, depending on the day of the week the event is held, but Weyman is cautiously optimistic the specially chosen Friday night will attract a record-breaking crowd.
“It’s the Friday night before the Indiana football game on Saturday, so it’ll be great to welcome out-of-town guests looking for something else to do, different options other than the downtown or outside-of-town restaurants,” he said. “With the big bands we have coming in and all the beers on tap, we’re certainly hoping for a big crowd of students, alumni and locals alike.”
Plus, the event is free for kids 12 and younger, making it an easy family outing for parents wanting to attend.
Attendees buying a ticket in advance online receive a Tussey Mountain glass stein while supplies last. Additionally, the event is a ticket based system just like the summertime WingFest, and Weyman said if you have any tickets leftover from any WingFest (they never expire) they’re valid for Oktoberfest as well. Otherwise, the event is cash only.
“It’s kind of a celebration of fall,” Weyman said. “We’re an all-seasons resort out here, transitioning to winter soon, but fall’s a great season as well. It’s a nice transition event for us, going from summer to winter, with one last hurrah, doing something fun out at the amphitheater.”
Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
If you go
What: Tussey Mountain’s Oktoberfest
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Tussey Mountain, 301 Bear Meadows Road, Boalsburg