Oktoberfest 2023: A Taste Of Germany On Long Island

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Oktoberfest season, despite the name, officially starts on the third Saturday of September – the 16th this year. The tradition originated as a festival in Munich to mark the October wedding in 1810 of the Crown Prince Ludwig and his bride Princess Therese. Over time, the Munich Oktoberfest shifted to be a celebration lasting 16 to 18 days and usually ending on the first Sunday in October. This year for the 188th Oktoberfest, Munich’s City Council decided to make the festival 18 days to end on a Tuesday, Oct. 3, which is the German Unity Day holiday.  

Here on Long Island, Oktoberfest celebrations will kick off on Sept. 16 and run through the whole month of October, giving Islanders many opportunities to enjoy traditional German beer, food and music. A popular activity at many of these festivals will be the steinholding contest, which confers bragging rights on the festgoer who can endure the most strain and pain.

Where To Go For Oktoberfest on Long Island

Destination Unknown Beer Co. (DUBCO) in Bay Shore will kick off the season on Sept. 16 with its fifth annual Dubtoberfest, featuring German-style beers and pumpkin beers from DUBCO and more than 20 member breweries of the Long Island Brewers Guild. The fest will feature the Best Beer contest as voted by festgoers, along with a steinholding competition and food trucks including Geenas Weenas.

Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square, Long Island’s premier German biergarten, will hold its annual Ompahfest on Sept. 17 beginning at 11 a.m. The fest will feature live music from bands direct from Germany who will march in the German-American Steuben Parade in Manhattan on Sept. 16. There will be plenty of German beer, including several of the traditional Oktoberfest Märzen beers brewed according to the strict German Purity Law of 1487 (Reinheitsgebot). Ompahfest also includes traditional German food and lots of activities for kids.

Oktoberfest celebrations will continue at Plattduetsche Biergarten for the first three weekends in October with live music from German bands including Die Spitzbaum, Die Schlauberger, the Mountain XPress Band and famed rock accordionist Alex Meixner.   

Das Biergarten in the West End of Long Beach will hold its ninth annual Oktoberfest kicking off on Sept. 16 with live music under its tent and German beer and food. The festivities will continue every Saturday until Oct. 14 and possibly later depending on weather.   

Campground Craft Beer Market, a new beer bar and bottle shop in Sea Cliff, will hold its first annual Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 16 and 17. The fest will feature German food and a steinholding contest, along with German-style beers on Campground’s 12 rotating taps and plenty of German beers in bottles and cans.

The first annual Dale-toberfest will be hosted by Lithology Brewing on Sept. 23, sponsored by the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce. The fest will feature German-style beers from Lithology and the two other breweries in Farmingdale, Jones Beach Brewing (a tenant brewer at Lithology) and Necromantic Brew Co., Long Island’s first gluten-free brewery. Tickets include one beer from any of the breweries and the fest will have food trucks, live music, craft vendors and games.

Reflexions Riverhead will host its second annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 30 on the waterfront in downtown Riverhead. Milton L. Burns Park (formerly Grangebel Park) will be lit up with illuminated artwork at dusk and the fest will feature contests, live German music by the Bratwurst Boys, and German food from Seaside Grill.  Plenty of German-style beer will be on tap from local breweries including Long Ireland Beer, Tradewinds Brewing, Peconic County Brewing and North Fork Brewing companies.

Tanger Outlets in Deer Park will host its third annual Oktoberfest Craft Brew Fest on Oct. 14 featuring tastings of locally brewed beer and cider, including homebrewed beer from Long Island’s clubs. The festival will run from 1-5 pm and feature live music and food trucks, including German specialties.

Visiting one of Long Island’s German restaurants is another great way to celebrate Oktoberfest. Oak Chalet in Bellmore will have live music on Wednesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 20 through Oct. 26. Other German restaurants with special events include Pine Grove Inn in East Patchogue, Prost Grill & Garten in Garden City, Pumpernickel’s in Northport, Shippy’s Pumpernickel in Southampton and The Village Lanterne in Lindenhurst.

A full list of Long Island Oktoberfest events can be found online at LIBeerGuide.com/li-oktoberfest. 


Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.