The annual Dayton tradition celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and will feature some changes to the festival’s schedule and format, to help ensure a safe celebration for everyone.
“We are excited to welcome the return of the DAI’s Oktoberfest this year, but we have also been closely monitoring developments with the pandemic over the course of the summer and are mindful of the rising number of COVID cases due to the Delta variant,” said DAI Director & CEO Michael R. Roediger. “In order to make this outdoor festival as safe as possible for guests, staff and volunteers, we will be making some important changes to the festival layout and our Saturday hours.”
The Oktoberfest weekend begins on Friday, September 24, with the Lederhosen Lunch, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., and the Preview Party, 7–11 p.m., followed by Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26. This year, Saturday hours will be changed to run from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday hours will remain noon–7 p.m.
In addition, the museum building and collection galleries will be closed to the public from Thursday, September 23 through Sunday, September 26.
On the festival grounds, changes include eliminating the two enclosed artisan tents.
“It was a very difficult decision to remove the artisan tents for 2021, as this has been a core part of the festival since its inception 50 years ago,” Roediger said. “These tents are enclosed, to protect the artisans’ wares, and as a result are not well ventilated. We felt it would be in everyone’s best interest to not include these tents in the festival layout this year.”
This change will also allow moving several food vendors in the food court, as well as several other vendor booths near the main festival tent, to open up more space on the museum grounds. These changes will help to improve what have traditionally been congested areas at the festival.
There will also be fewer tables and chairs in the food court and main festival tents, with more seating and open tents added throughout the grounds, to help spread crowds out over a larger area.
“As the DAI’s largest annual fundraiser, it’s vitally important to museum operations that we hold Oktoberfest, but we want to do so in a responsible manner,” Roediger said. “We feel these changes will allow us to move forward with Oktoberfest in a safe and enjoyable manner for all. I look forward to welcoming the community to the DAI for the festival’s 50th anniversary!”
The 2021 Oktoberfest is dedicated in memory of Brock Anderson Sr., whose family owns longtime Oktoberfest sponsor Bonbright Distributors.
Much of the work planning for Oktoberfest is done by the DAI’s Associate Board, a volunteer board consisting of 32 couples, led by this year’s Oktoberfest Chairs, Liz Wolfe-Eberly and Peter Eberly.
“It’s an honor to serve as the festival chairs and help organize this special Oktoberfest,” said the Eberlys. “We are grateful for all the hard work the other members of the Associate Board invest in bringing this festival to the community each year.”
Highlights of this year’s festival include:
LEDERHOSEN LUNCH: Hosted by the DAI’s Former Associate Board, this community lunch offers the only free admission of the weekend, with bratwurst, mettwurst, schnitzel sandwiches, German salads and homemade noodles available for purchase, as well as live music. The main beer truck will be tapped for the Lederhosen Lunch, and guests may also buy event tickets, as well as Oktoberfest mugs and t-shirts.
PREVIEW PARTY: Presented by Premier Health, this exclusive, ticketed event includes complimentary draft beer, wine and soft drinks, as well as live entertainment by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC), The Rubi Girls and DJ KimL.
Advance ticket purchase for the Preview Party tickets is recommended: $55 members, $75 non-members. All tickets purchased at the gate will be $95. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest, at the museum’s Guest Services Desk during regular hours, or by calling 937-223-4ART (4278). Guests must be 21 with a valid ID to attend the Preview Party.
OKTOBERFEST: The main Oktoberfest celebration, presented by Miller Lite, includes a wide variety of delicious foods, more than 40 different craft and international beers, and a selection of domestic and international wines. Visitors can relax in fully covered main stage and food court areas, as well as a TV tent with four big-screen TVs for all the weekend sports action. Live music will be featured in the food tent and on the main stage throughout the weekend. The ACCO Brands FamilyFest takes place Saturday and Sunday afternoon, noon–4:30 p.m. each day, with special activities for all ages.
New this year: A special “Last Call” Happy Hour from 4–6 p.m. on Sunday, September 26, will feature $5 draft beers, as well as $5 for all selections in the Weingarten and Cantina.
Advance general admission tickets for Oktoberfest (Saturday/Sunday) are $8 adults, $5 seniors and youth (ages 7–18). Tickets purchased at the gate are $10 adults, $7 seniors and youth. Children 6 and under are free. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum’s Guest Services Desk or by calling 937-223-4ART (4278) during regular museum hours.
Advance general admission tickets may also be purchased at the following pre-sale locations through the close of business on Friday, September 24: Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood, Wilmington Square and Springboro; Arrow Wine on Far Hills and Lyons Road; Old Scratch Pizza on Patterson Rd. and Miamisburg Centerville Rd.; and Ghostlight Coffee on Patterson Rd and Wayne Ave.
Go to www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest as the central hub for more information and updates about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest receives support from many generous sponsors, including Presenting: Miller Lite; Preview Party: Premier Health; Craft Beer: Cavalier Distributing; Weingarten: Heidelberg Distributing Company; Vehicle: White-Allen Family of Dealerships; Lederhosen Lunch: KeyBank; Mugs & Ts: Logos@Work; Main Stage: Cincinnati Bell; Family Art: ACCO Brands; Cigar: Arrow Wine & Spirits; Patron: Enterprise Roofing & Sheetmetal, HarborLink Network, Oregon Printing, and PSC Crane & Rigging; Supporting: Bladecutters Inc., Dayton International Airport, LWC Incorporated, M&M Title Co., The Modern College of Design, Old Scratch Pizza, RTA, Surdyk Dowd & Turner, Square One Salon & Spa, and WesBanco; Media: ABC22 & FOX45; iHeartMedia Dayton; Special Thanks: PNC.
Oktoberfest was established by the DAI Associate Board in 1971, with the first full public festival taking place in 1972. Each year, the DAI Associate Board helps organize Oktoberfest as a fundraiser to support the museum. This group of 64 dedicated museum volunteers also organizes the annual Art Ball gala. Over the years, the Associate Board has raised nearly $7.5 million for the museum through Oktoberfest. Since its inception, more than one million people have attended the DAI’s Oktoberfest!