Oktoberfest at the Amana Colonies is a local gem of an event filled with authentic tradition, delicious beer, tasty food, and plenty of German music to dance to! This isn’t just some polka band and beer, this an immersive weekend event filled with all sorts of fun!
This was our first year going to Oktoberfest in Amana, and we plan on going back in the future.
Places to Stay
The Amana Colonies website has plenty of information about Places to Stay, but what I will add is to book early and try to get one of these local locations! There are bed and breakfasts, modern hotel options, and RV park and campgrounds.
We booked too late, and had to stay at a hotel 15 minutes away, and there were hardly any rideshare or cab service options, so do not count on those!
Next year we plan to stay in a bed and breakfast close by, that way we don’t have to worry about driving or parking, and can stop back to our room during the day if needed.
What to Wear
At this Oktoberfest, it’s encouraged to wear your traditional German clothing. So many people wear their trachten (traditional German clothing worn by people in the Alpine region of Bavaria), that you don’t have to worry about sticking out or being the only one.
I bought my dirndl from Alpenclassics.de, and I’ve linked their guide and history to dirndls and lederhosen. Luckily there are plenty of great options for clothing on Amazon as well, but you sometimes have to sift through the “halloween costumes” that have keywords like “sexy beer lady halloween oktoberfest”. Those look ridiculous, and you probably will stick out if you wear one of those.
I’ll link a couple options of what you can wear from Amazon with a variety of price points below. Some dirndls will be two-piece, which is the dress and apron, and some will be three-piece which also includes the white blouse. Make sure to take note if you need to buy a separate blouse!
How to Get There / Parking
Luckily the Amana area has lots of parking around its shops and designated areas for festivals and visitors.
For Oktoberfest they also have a shuttle that runs throughout the Amana area. I’d keep an eye on their Facebook page and website for these type of updates and shuttle stop information if you plan to go in the future.
Saturday Morning Parade
First thing Saturday morning we headed down to the parade!
It was a lot of fun to see marching bands, local business floats, and everything in-between at this parade. Looked like a lot of candy-filled fun for the kids as well!
After the parade ended, we looked around a few shops in town. Our personal favorite is the Amana General Store that includes their Christmas Store (yes, year-round Christmas!). You can get all sorts of local goodies, lotions, teas, decor and more.
You can find the perfect ornament, gift or decoration for any Christmas theme!
We also had to take some time to look over all the German snacks, mixes, pastas, and jarred goods. My husband and his sister recognized quite a few of these items from growing up in Germany, so of course we grabbed some!
Once inside the ticketed area, there is a food & drink tent, and then you can make your way to the festhalle! The festhalle is filled with long tables and chairs throughout to eat, drink and listen to music with each other.
At the top there’s the stage where all the variety of musicians performed. Throughout most of the day you will hear traditional German folk music, singers, brass bands, and more. But in the evening you may hear some current pop songs with a polka-twist as well. There wasn’t a single group we heard that we didn’t like.
Remember to wear your dancing shoes! I think my husband and I waltzed and danced more at this Oktoberfest than at our own wedding, and we certainly weren’t the only ones.
Towards the back of the festhalle is where you can purchase your souvenir mugs and refill your drinks.
You have the option of the souvenir half liter glass, liter glass, or they also have plastic cups to drink from as well. We opted for the half liter glass so our drinks wouldn’t get warm. Millstream Brewing is Amana’s local brewery and was the main selection of beer available. The Oktoberfest brew was my personal favorite. Millstream also has delicious Root Beer and Cream Sodas for those who don’t drink beer.
There was also a selection of local “Oma’s Wine” (Oma = Grandma) just outside of the festhalle as well for those that prefer wine.
Within the main food tent, you can get giant pretzels, a couple different kinds of bratwurst, currwurst, and sides of potato salad and struedel for dessert. The food was impressive, especially considering how quickly it came out and the number of people being served! You’ll also find popcorn available for my snack-y friends (me).
If you order the giant pretzel and take it outside of the festival area like we did, you will have multiple people asking in awe where you bought that amazing pretzel.
Beyond the Festhalle
Amana Colonies is perfectly set up for festivals, and makes it so easy to leave the main festival area to tour the shops and other festivities in the area. You may find some outdoor games to join in on, go find the perfect souvenir, or find another live musician playing somewhere else.
We decided to stop by the Millstream Brewing location and grabbed a refill and sat inside to check out their brewing set up! And to finish eating that giant pretzel.
Before heading out on Sunday, we decided to grab coffee and some pastries at the Amana Colonies Bakery & Cafe. Definitely worth the stop for some pastries!
Our very last stop was checking out the Amana Meatshop & Smokehouse.
The smell of smoked meats and cheeses is something that can’t be beat.
The Amana Colonies Oktoberfest was one of the most fun events we’ve been to this past year. They really know how to put on a well organized event. Prices throughout are all reasonable, the venues are well decorated, the food and drink lines never took long, all the volunteers and workers were so kind, and the music was impressive! We hope to return next year for Oktoberfest, and hopefully sooner for other festivals!
Be sure to check out their website for more information about all their festivals and how to plan your next visit.