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Oktoberfest Brings Bavaria to Rochester

You don't need lederhosen to have a good time at the Rochester Mills Oktoberfest. But it helps.

It’s quite a ringing endorsement when citizens of Germany actually leave their homeland to attend your Oktoberfest.

That’s exactly the stamp of approval has received on its annual Oktoberfest — and this year it is only getting bigger and better.

An additional day, Thursday, has joined the Oktoberfest lineup with a free, all-ages evening of music and skateboarding.

Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will provide the music in the big tent.

will provide a skateboarding demo and a Game of Skate.

“It’s a family-friendly event, but it seemed to be lacking something for the teens and tweens,” said David Youngman, Director of Marketing/Communications for Rochester Mills. “And we had a tent sitting there empty for a day so we added Rocktoberfest to the front end.”

While the kids are ripping it up in the big tent, both Rochester and Rochester Hills mayors will be performing perhaps the best mayoral duty of the year — the tapping of the ceremonial keg. The tapping will take place inside the Mills at 7 p.m.

Youngman told me the Oktoberfest Seasonal Celebration Lager is “fanastic.” And for the first time in history, one of the Mills' seasonal beers will be available in a few other select locations. Those locations will be announced tomorrow at the ceremonial tapping.

Big tent, big Bavarian fun

Friday and Saturday the fun continues as the Mills brings the sights, sounds and flavors of Bavaria to downtown Rochester.

The big tent will feature German bands and Carpathian dancers, German-style beer and food and a midway full of activities for the kids.

The midway is run by the YMCA North Oakland County swim team and includes carnival games, moonwalks, a climbing wall, pony rides, petting zoo, clowns and balloon and tattoo artists.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan uses volunteers to run the food concessions. Both nonprofits benefit from Oktoberfest proceeds.

"This is something that people look forward to," Youngman said. "It's another rite of the fall season, like cider mills and apple-picking."

For the grown-ups

While Oktoberfest is definitely a family-friendly event, there's grown-up fun, too, starting with the Jagerettes on Friday night.

The squad from Jagermeister will be handing out promotional giveaways in the big tent. If that sounds better than a clown, read on.

There will also be manly competitions to see who can eat the most sauerkraut and who can hoist their stein the longest. 

About that stein. It's the official Munich-designated stein for Oktoberfest 2011 and Rochester Mills is the only place in North America where you can buy one — that is, if you didn't already win it in the hoisting competition.

The collector's edition stein is $35 and that includes one free fill. Special beer pricing applies to the stein for all of Oktoberfest. Souvenir pint glasses and t-shirts will also be available for purchase.

And for real grown-up fun, never underestimate the thrill of hitting that dance floor in your traditional Bavarian attire.

"If you want to be truly embraced by everyone, I absolutely encourage the wearing of lederhosen and dirndl," Youngman said.

Rochester Mills Beer Company is hosting Oktoberfest at 400 Water Street in downtown Rochester. Thursday's Rocktoberfest event is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and includes live music and skateboarding. There is no charge.

The tent is open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. There is a $5 cover for the tent on Friday and Saturday for attendees 16 years and older. Children with a paying adult are free. Friday and Saturday events include live German music, dancing and midway games.

The tent-covered event is held rain or shine.

David Gifford September 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM
We had so much fun at Oktoberfest last year and are planning on going again this Saturday. Now where can I find some lederhosen??
Laura Cassar September 21, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Perhaps one of the seasonal Halloween stores that has popped up? Or www.lederhosenforsale.com?
Suzanne Hester September 21, 2011 at 08:35 PM
craigslist...act quickly:)

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