By Nancy Price
Craving some bratwurst, potato pancakes and German lagers?
Visitors planning to attend German-American Klub’s annual three-day Oktoberfest will not be disappointed in the variety of German traditions, including authentic food, drinks, attire, music and dancing.
“I think first-time attendees will be surprised at the variety of food offerings and the variety of beers that will be available in the park as well as the Edelweiss Restaurant,” said Patty Johns, chairman of Oktoberfest. “It’s like entering another world. You can’t help but get wrapped up in the German tradition that is Oktoberfest.”
“We are the only festival in the area featuring Claus’ original frickadellen, a German patty that resembles a burger, but with a distinct and wonderful flavor from pork, beef and veal and spices,” added Travis Jerde, vice president of Cultural and Membership Affairs of Oktoberfest. “We also have the Kassler Ripchen, a smoked pork chop, slow smoked port and outstanding heirloom German potato salad recipe. We think that visitors will also be surprised to see and taste our vegetarian offerings, including Beyond Meat Bratwursts and patties. There is something for everyone and we don’t sacrifice the culture in order to provide it.
“For the first time this year, the Munich Brewery Paulaner will be sponsoring our pavilion and providing their outstanding and authentic line of biers for our guests. In addition to the Oktoberfest Marzen, we’ll be carrying their original helles lager, hefeweizen and the Salvator Doppelbcok. We’ll still have the Warsteiner biers available too, as we have in past years. The MashCraft Biergarten at the Edelweiss will feature Braumeister Andrew Castner’s Special ‘Tease’ Vienna Lager and an IPA for those preferring a hoppier taste than what the malty German lagers provide.”
Not a beer fan? Oktoberfest has added a weingarten this year, featuring Buck Winery selections, including Road House Red, Road House White, Cabernet Sauvignon and Der Champion Riesling. “For the true connoisseurs, they should try Buck Creek’s Single Barrel Reserve: a unique vintage blend of reds, especially selected for a bold and complex favor,” Jerde added. Guests can also try a Sahm Slipper, invented by Paul Sahm.
Entertainment includes the German-American Klub’s official dance group (and the only German folk dance group in the state), die Fledermaushen Tanzgruppe. “They perform an array of German, Austrian and Nordic folk dances, including landlers, Rhinelanders, waltzes, the obligatory polkas and the widely popular schuhplatters, where the gentlemen slap their shoes and hips in expressive and athletic dances,” Jerde.
Magician Marcus Lehman will also randomly appear and “disappear” in front of guests. “As he moves away, you can hear people saying, ‘How’d he do that?’” Johns said.
Guests, no matter their background or ethnicity, are invited to dress in their “trachten,” traditional German clothing. “We’re really encouraging that this year to enhance the Oktoberfest experience,” Jerde said. “We have a consignment store on site called the Gak Kloset that will have some for sale if you don’t have your own yet.”
Attractions for the kids include a root beer garden, carnival rides, inflatables and a playground. For more information, including an entertainment schedule and restaurant menu, go to indianapolisgak.com.
If you go …
German-American Klub of Indianapolis Oktoberfest
8602 S. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46217
Sept. 5-7; 4-10 p.m. Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: $5 per person; children 12 and younger free