GLENDALE HEIGHTS – Autumn is the season for Oktoberfests – a chance to enjoy hearty Bavarian food and beverages as well as the sounds of traditional German music.
All that and more will be offered at the seventh annual Glendale Heights Oktoberfest, which runs from Sept. 13 through 23 at Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave.
The festival will feature authentic German food prepared by Schnitzel Platz Restaurant. Austrian and German pastries also will be available.
The menu features a wide assortment of Bavarian delicacies including German pretzels, fried sauerkraut balls with honey mustard, pork shank with bread dumplings, roast chicken, bratwurst and foot-long frankfurters. Side dishes include German potato salad and Bavarian red cabbage.
"It's pretty authentic as far as the food is concerned," festival organizer Diethard Beyer said.
Beer imported from the Hofbräu Brewery in Munich as well as Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss Bier, one of the the oldest breweries in the world, will be served.
Of course, no Oktoberfest is complete without traditional musical entertainment.
The fest will feature strolling oompah bands as well as numerous German bands, which will grace the stage throughout the 11-day event.
"It's about as close to Germany as you're going to find," Beyer said.
The fest typically attracts about 12,000 people and offers a unique experience for those who have never attended an Oktoberfest, he said.
"I don't think people realize what it's like," Beyer said. "We have some people who come every day."
While food, beer and music are the focus of the event, it also offers a pumpkin patch, plant sale and activities for children. Vendors offering German products, souvenirs, hats and steins also will be on hand.
Attendees who purchase a souvenir stein will be entered into a raffle for a trip to Germany, Beyer said.
A car show and community garage sale will be held in conjunction with the fest Sept. 16 at Camera Park.
The fest will be from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays, 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays and noon to 10 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults after 4 p.m. Children younger than 16 are free.
Limited VIP boxes under the grand festival tent also are available. A VIP pass includes admission, parking, premium seating, an appetizer platter, one meal, two drinks, private servers and food served on china with silverware and glassware. The VIP packages range from $60 to $80 per person, depending on the day.
VIP seating is common at Oktoberfests in Germany, Beyer said.
If you go
WHAT: Glendale Heights Oktoberfest
WHEN: Sept. 13 through 23
WHERE: Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave., Glendale Heights
COST: $5 for adults after 4 p.m., free for children younger than 16