Located in Oregon's beautiful Willamette Valley, Mount Angel is a destination that features world class events, a rich German heritage, and activities for all ages. Food lovers will love the selection of traditional German foods at Mount Angel Sausage Co. and Glockenspiel Restaurant. Make sure to visit to the Mount Angel Abbey, a Benedictine monastic community featuring tranquil surroundings that features a craft brewery run by the monks.
The Mount Angel Oktoberfest has been a late summer staple for tens of thousands since it began more than five decades ago, and will take place September 14-17 in downtown. The event is held to celebrate the fall harvest in this agricultural community, with German-themed activities, entertainment, food, and beer. Entertainers from around the globe will perform on five stages, and a Street Dance (Friday and Saturday nights) will be open to everyone. Four beer gardens will serve a variety of German and NW craft beers, and wine will be available at vendors throughout the event. Those in search of food will find a plethora of options from German favorites like sausage and sauerkraut to festival foods like corn dogs and french fries. Patrons will also find more than 120 artisans and vendors selling a variety of handmade items, art, and Bavarian products. ResortsandLodges.com got the opportunity to interview Monica Bochsler, Director Marketing and PR of the event, to learn more about this Bavarian festival in the U.S.
RAL: Tell me a bit about the event?
MB: The Mount Angel Oktoberfest began as a traditional fall festival to celebrate the bounty of the earth and the goodness of creation. The Oktoberfest tradition is still going strong, carrying with it the quality, warmth, and fun of a community effort unparalleled in the Northwest. Oktoberfest kicks off with a traditional German Webertanz (May pole dance) performed by Mount Angel school children at noon and continues through Sunday.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MB: This year we expect to bring in between 350,000-400,000 people over four days.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MB: There is something for everyone. Our demographic is very broad. The little kids love the pony rides and bouncy houses, middle schoolers love the Rock Climbing and Stunt Jump, and all ages love the Street Dance. Those over 21 enjoy a wide selection of adult beverages. The entertainment fills the dance floor with all ages.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
MB: Throughout the years, Mount Angel's Oktoberfest has offered traditional Bavarian food, fun, and entertainment for the whole family. The 2017 Oktoberfest features 50 food booths, a large art and craft show and a whole lot more.
For entertainment, the festival offers Friday and Saturday night street dances, a traditional Biergarten, family Weingarten, interactive Alpinegarten, concerts in St. Mary Parish Church, and an extensive (FREE) kindergarten. Highlights of the 52nd Oktoberfest will include the "Original Donaumusikanten," a world class Bavarian band, flying directly from Germany and sponsored by Lufthansa, the official airline of Oktoberfest. The German band plays daily in the Weingarten.
The Oktoberfest Weingarten captures the ambiance of the great wine festivals along the Rhine River. It is noted for fantastic food, select wines from Germany and the Northwest, and German beers. In addition to the Donaumusikanten, you will meet the Z-Musikmakers from Mount Angel, and Gordanairs European Musik from Canada.
The Biergarten, located in the Mount Angel's Festhalle, features Die Schlauberger, from New York, with their mix of Alpine Rock to keep you on the dance floor all night long. We are also introducing festival goers to the Chardon Polka Band in 2017. This group takes traditional polkas and makes them fit into a millennial culture.
The family Alpinegarten features lively interactive entertainment with a wide variety of alpine folk music in a hall reminiscent of a Bavarian village folk fest. Entertainment in the Alpinegarten features favorites like the Gruber Family Band. This versatile band brings the Alps to Mount Angel, playing “Old World” folk and traditional music from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. New this year from Slovenia is the Oberkrainer Juhej, introducing traditional music and festival fun. The Alpinegarten features a high-quality beer menu with both Weihenstephaner from Germany and NW Craft beers from pFriem and Boneyard. Guests will also find refreshing wines from Germany and the Northwest.
Our newest venue, the Prostgarten is a quiet place to relax while strolling through the streets. Grab a sausage and kraut or other festival favorites from a food booth; then make your way to the Prostgarten and select an Andechs beer or German Wine imported by Kastle Hill to pair with your meal. The outdoor garden atmosphere is a relaxing place to chat with friends and listen to acoustic accordion playing in the background.
For a full list of the activities, please visit the event website.
RAL: Our travelers seek out unique and boutique accommodations, where can they find these in your area?
MB: Oregon Garden Resort is a great local favorite and sponsor of our Alpinegarten. Accommodations fill quickly in Silverton, but lodging is available in Woodburn and Salem as well. Travel Salem is a good source for lodging as is the Woodburn Chamber of Commerce and Silverton Chamber of Commerce.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
MB: The festival is organized and run by volunteers. It is the largest all-volunteer event in the Northwest. We aim to provide a quality, reasonably priced family celebration, which raises funds for deserving non-profit organizations in Mount Angel and the surrounding communities.
Since it began, Oktoberfest has donated over $3.1M to schools, churches, civic organizations, youth activities, senior services, hospitals, and a score of other worthwhile causes. This does not include the money earned by the fifty food booths, sponsored by civic and non-profit organizations (last year they grossed over $620,000). For many of these groups, Oktoberfest is their primary fund raising activity of the year.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MB: Come with a group or alone, it's easy to meet new friends in a place filled with
Gemütlichkeit – the German word meaning a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, of belonging, social acceptance, and un-hurry.
For more information about the Mount Angel Oktoberfest, please visit the event website.