Oktoberfest Kicks Off Thursday in Rochester

Munich-style bash kicks off today with the tapping of Rochester Mills' Oktoberfest brew at 7 p.m. Here's what else you need to know.

Setup for the 2013 Rochester Mills Oktoberfest was under way this week. Photo credit: David Youngman
Setup for the 2013 Rochester Mills Oktoberfest was under way this week. Photo credit: David Youngman
The carnival rides are erected, the beer fermented and the main stage eagerly awaiting an array of Oom-pah and polka music as the Rochester Mills Beer Co. Oktoberfest celebration kicks off today in downtown Rochester.

The Munich-style harvest celebration promises a bigger bash than ever for the popular brewery and eatery, which has held the festival nearly every year since opening its doors 15 years ago. Here is a rundown of what to expect:


  • All festivities will be held on the grounds surrounding Rochester Mills Beer Co., 400 Water St. in Rochester. Additional festivities will take place inside the pub.


  • $5 cover for festival tent, good throughout the weekend (in other words, don't wash off your handstamp). Children 16 and under get in for free with a paid adult. Carnival admission is free, wristbands and midway games cost extra. 
  • Adults ages 21 and older with a valid ID may receive a handstamp to purchase alcoholic beverages. 

Dates and times:

  • Thursday: Festival 5-11 p.m. 
  • Friday: 4-11 p.m. 
  • Saturday: noon-11 p.m. 
  • Sunday: 1-6 p.m.

What is there to see and do?

  • Tapping of the 2013 batch of Rochester Mills' Oktoberfest beer, 7 p.m. on Thursday.
  • The long-running Rochester Hills Lions Club Carnival making its autumn debut in downtown Rochester, complete with thrilling rides and challenging midway games.
  • Test your endurance in the sauerkraut-eating and stein-hoisting competitions, and various other challenges throughout the weekend. 
  • Live Oom-pah and polka music throughout the four-day festival and live music inside the pub from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. on Friday (The Remedy) and Saturday (Acoustic Brothers From Different Mothers). 
  • Free vision screenings will be provided by the Rochester Hills Lions Club, and word on the streets is the opening ceremonies will include some decked-out Leader Dogs. 

What is there to drink?

  • Head Brewer Forrest Knapp has prepared fresh batches of Rochester Mills Water Street Wheat (German-style Hefe-Weizen), Lazy Daze Lite (Michigan-style light beer) and this year’s Oktoberfest Lager (German-style lager). This year will also feature German liqueur Jägermeister drink specials and an appearance by the Jägerettes. 
  • Inside the pub, patrons can order from a full menu of drinks and food. 

Who benefits from this?

  • While Oktoberfest is a business event, both Rochester Mills and the Rochester Hills Lions Club are donating proceeds to several causes. Among them, Rochester Mills is benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan and the YMCA North Oakland County Waves swim club. The Rochester Hills Lions Club is raising money for Leader Dogs for the Blind and local Lions Club charities. 

More information:


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