Beer, brats, and lederhosen take center stage at the 43rd annual Four Peaks Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, the largest celebration of German culture in the state, where you can sample traditional beers, taste authentic treats, and even dance the polka. The free, three-day event runs today, October 9 through Sunday, October 11.
Four Peaks Brewing Company will once again host several of the beer tents that you’ll find spread throughout the town lake area. Try their Sunbru, Hefeweizen, Pumpkin Porter, or Peach Ale. Or, get the party started with their signature brew, Kilt Lifter, at the Kilt Lifter Tap Room.
Beck’s, Widmer Brother, and Warsteiner will also have tents. In addition to German-style beers, ales, stouts, ciders, and other brews are available as well as gluten-free and non-alcoholic selections. Get eight 4-ounce samples from noon to 6 p.m. for $20.
If you’d rather have wine, the Oktoberfest has a wine garden serving Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.
Pair your beverage of choice with Von Hanson’s Meats & Spirits’ bratwurst, sauerkraut, hot dogs, and chicken patties. Wok-friend noodles, Mexican dishes, and carnival foods such as funnel cakes, corn dogs, curly fries, and nachos can also be purchased. For dessert, nibble on German strudel and pastries from Bavarian Bakery.
You will need cash to purchase tickets for food and beverages, so be sure to bring plenty if you want to avoid standing in line to use the ATMs. Proceeds help fund Tempe Sister Cities’ student and educator exchange programs.
While you will have to pay for food, drink, and some activities, much of the entertainment is free. Throughout the event, free live music—ranging from alternative rock to blues, country, and polka—will play on three stages. Check online for a complete line-up.
Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake also features a Kinderfest where kids can complete a free craft in the craft zone. Kids can also request a passport from the Tempe Sister Cities’ booth. If they fill the passport with stamps, they receive a free treat.
You will need to pay for the amusement park rides, including the tilt-a-wheel and Ferris wheel. Unlimited all day passes are available for $30.
Enjoy the free Weiner Mania, where 32 dachshunds will compete in 11 races on Sunday (eight 4-dog preliminary runs, two heats featuring the winners, and the grand finale dash between the top four).
Burn off some of those beer and brat calories by participating in the Das Frank Kush Foot Race with distances of 10k, 5k, and 1 mile. Entry fees ($30 until 7 p.m. on October 8, $35 the day of the race) include a t-shirt, an Oktoberfest mug, and a post-run beverage coupon. The event raises funds for the Frank Kush Youth Foundation and Tempe Sister Cities Youth Programs.
The Das Frank Kush Foot Race begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Tempe Center for the Arts Park. Keep an eye out for Kush, the retired Arizona State University football coach, who will be on hand to encourage runners.
Oktoberfest is a quick drive down the 101 Pima freeway from Scottsdale at Tempe Town Lake, and kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 9. Festivities resume 10 a.m. both weekend days with the night winding down at midnight on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.