Every October locals count the days until the next Island Oktoberfest in Galveston. For 37 years First Evangelical Lutheran Church has hosted Island Oktoberfest on the grounds and streets adjacent to the church at 24th and Winnie and the festival has grown in popularity for both locals and visitors. The festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 26 from 5 to 11 p.m. and continues on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. If your trip coincides you'll definitely have to add it to your itinerary. Why? Here are five reasons you'll love Island Oktoberfest.
1. Free admission: The church raises money via vendors, its cake wheel, auction, raffles and food and beverage sales so this is a free, family friendly festival.
2. Entertainment: The festival features continuous live entertainment on two stages. Listen for polka music to more to get you in the Oktoberfest mood.
3. Food: Festival goers can purchase smoked sausage, bratwurst, knockwurst and "Wurstabendessen" (sausage dinner comprised of German-style and Polish style Wurst with all the traditional German side dishes). Plus, for sweet lovers there is homemade Helmut's strudel that is freshly baked on site along with other home-made desserts.
4. Bier Gartens: Island Oktoberfest is co-sponsored by Del Papa Distributing Company and offers three themed-Bier Garten venues featuring both German and domestic beer. The Bier Gartens and entertainment is under the cover of huge tents with tables and chairs for festival goers and space for dancing. Again, this year, Oktoberfest is featuring special beer and wine tastings for $35. Meet the Brewer is scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday and the Wine Tasting is at 3 p.m. Saturday.
5. Holiday Shopping: The church's restored Lyceum, circa 1860, will give guests a chance to start their holiday shopping on Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Vendors peddle handcrafted arts, crafts and gift items.
The festival is just a short walk from The Strand Historic District and most of the activities take place under tents and the holiday shopping area is inside the Lyceum.
Book your room early and enjoy being near all the fun.
• If you want to stay in the heart of downtown Galveston, book your stay at The Tremont House.
• If you want to enjoy of view of the harbor, consider Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21.
• If you want a beachfront hotel with historic ambiance, stay at Hotel Galvez & Spa