Insider’s Guide to the Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Few outsiders would suspect that an American city’s largest Oktoberfest party would take place at an art gallery. Yet in the 49 years since the Dayton Art Institute (DAI) decided that throwing an Oktoberfest would make for a great fundraiser, the now three-day event has become the premier Oktoberfest party in Dayton.

>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at last year’s Oktoberfest?

Here’s what you need to know about the DAI Oktoberfest 2019.

>> Where to park at Oktoberfest

>> What to eat at OktoberfestWhat to drink at Oktoberfest

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

The celebration is set for Sept. 27-29 on the grounds of the museum, located at 456 Belmonte Park N. in Dayton.

As one of the Dayton-area's biggest festivals (it's been going on since 1972) it can be a little intimidating, so whether it's your first time or you're looking to make the most of it, here's your insider's guide:

>> 100 reasons to love Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest


The DAI Oktoberfest kicks off with its annual Lederhosen Lunch (lederhosen optional) on Sept. 27 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The lunch fare will include brats, metts, schnitzel sandwiches, German salads, homemade noodles, and the main food truck to pour your first Oktoberfest beer.

There’ll be live music and Oktoberfest mugs and T-shirts will be available for purchase. The Lederhosen Lunch is the only free admission event all weekend.


Start the party early! Oktoberfest early festivities continue later that same day with the annual preview party from 7-11 p.m.

The preview party tends to be less crowded, and will feature food vendors, over 60 artisans, live music, and complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks.

There’ll also be a cash bar for premium, international beer and wine. Food is extra.

Well worth the price of admission, if you ask us, to kick off your weekend and enjoy the event with smaller crowds.

Tickets are $55 for members, $75 for non-members, and $95 at the gate.


Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Oktoberfest is noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 and from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.

The festival, voted best festival in’s Best of 2018 contest, includes artisan booths, plenty of food, kid-friendly activities, music on two stages and lots and lots of international, domestic and craft beer (and wine, too).

Advance admission is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors, 60+ and children ages 7 to 18. Admission at the gate is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and youth. Children ages 6 and younger are free.

Purchase advance tickets online or at Arrow Wine (Centerville and Kettering locations), Dorothy Lane Market (all locations) Ghostlight Coffee (Wayne Avenue location), Jerardi's Little Store, Yellow Springs Hardware and Old Scratch Pizza.


Twenty-three food vendors will participate in DAI Oktoberfest. You’ll find traditional German dishes, traditional American fare, and ethnic foods.

New vendors in 2019 are: 

• Dayton Island Grill (Caribbean street food)

• Bella Sorella Pizza (homemade wood-fired pizza)

• Young’s Jersey Dairy (homemade ice cream)

• El Meson (Latin American)

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Returning favorities include:

• Brock Masterson’s (American, Mexican, pasta)

• Hey Hey Bar & Grill (German pub fare)

• DK Diner (American comfort food, donuts)

• Bourbon Street Grill (bourbon chicken)

• Bessie’s Noodles (homemade al dente noodles)

• Schmidt’s Sausage Haus (German pretzel nuggets, curry wurst, sauerkraut-bratwurst balls)

• Dublin Pub (Irish pub fare)

• Black Jack Grill (pork chops)

• Zombie Dogz (gourmet hot dogs and tacos)

• Bavarian Roasted Nuts

• Hamburger Wagon (classic burgers, no weird toppings)

• The Original Strudel Factory

• Cosmic Kettle Corn

• Pretzel Hut

• Associate Board Alumni Brats & Metts





Six trucks will provide the beer for Oktoberfest, with several varieties from each brewer. They are:

• Main Truck: Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Terrapin, Warsteiner, and Miller Lite

• Greek & River Gates: Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Warsteiner, Miller Lite, and Crispin Orchard Apple Cider

• Warsteiner Truck: Koenig Ludwig and Warsteiner Dunkel, Hefeweiss, Oktoberfest, and pilsner varieties

• Craft Beer Truck 1: 50 West, Cigar City, Founders, Great Lakes, NBB, Southern Tier, CBC, and Wild Basin Lime

• Craft Beer Truck 2: Brewdog, Fat Head, Jackie O, MadTree, Schoferhoffer, Weihenstephaner, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale

• Bottle Shop: Warsteiner, Crispin, Southern Tier, Founders, Lagunitas, Grolsch, Carlsburg, Franziskaner, Ommegang, B Nektar, Stone, Bosteels, Grevensteiner, Weihenstephaner, and Hoppin' Frog

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


New for DAI Oktoberfest 2019 is “The Cantina,” serving several hard seltzers. They are:

• Mighty Swell (grapefruit, cherry lime, watermelon mint, peach)

• Vive (blood orange, black raspberry, peach apricot, cherry)

• Capeline (strawberry lemonade, margarita, blackberry mojito)


The main Weingarten at 2019 Oktoberfest will feature a variety of whites and reds from various wineries. They are:

• Whites: Vino Pinot Grigio, Benziger Sauvignon Blanc, Ménage à Trois Gold Chardonnay, Charles de Fère Ice Sparkling, Meiomi Rosé, and Schmitt Sohne Riesling

• Reds: Seven Deadly Zins Red Blend, Panther Creek Pinot Noir, Tribute Cabernet Sauvignon, Gnarly Head Bourbon Barre Cabernet Sauvignon


The Dayton Art Institute offers some tips and advice for getting to and from Oktoberfest:

• There is absolutely no parking on the levy across from the museum or in McKinley Park during any Oktoberfest events. Please park only in approved locations.

• Riverview Avenue is closed at North Main Street due to reconstruction of the Main Street bridge.


• During the Friday Lederhosen Lunch, RTA will provide free shuttles from downtown Dayton during the Lederhosen Lunch on Friday, Sept. 27. Shuttles run from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Look for shuttle stop locations along Monument Avenue, Wilkinson Street, Second Street, Main Street and Fifth Street. Street parking is also available in the neighborhood surrounding The DAI.

• During the Friday night Oktoberfest Preview Partya free shuttle service will run from the University of Dayton parking lot on River Park Drive. The lot is located between the Dayton Marriott and Cox Media Group building, and River Park Drive may be accessed from either Main Street or Patterson Boulevard. Look for the shuttle signs, and take the free shuttle directly to and from the Preview Party.

• During the main festival hours on Saturday and Sunday, park for free at the University of Dayton parking lot on River Park Drive. The lot is located between the Dayton Marriott and the Cox Media Group building. River Park Drive may be accessed from either Main Street or Patterson Boulevard. From there, take the free shuttle directly to and from Oktoberfest. On Saturday, shuttles will run continuously from 11:30 a.m. - midnight. On Sunday, shuttles will run continuously from 11:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. You may also park downtown and catch a free RTA shuttle to and from Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday. RTA shuttles will run directly to the event from stops along Monument Avenue, Wilkinson Street, Second Street, Main Street, and Fifth Street. Look for the RTA shuttles with Oktoberfest destination signs and board at any stop along this route. There is no charge for the RTA shuttle ride. RTA shuttles will run from 11 a.m. - midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


For those Oktoberfest-goers with little ones, there’ll be a FamilyFest tent on Saturday-Sunday from noon-4:30 p.m. Activities include clay medallions, art puzzles, coloring, and Lego building.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


What: Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest

When: Sept. 27-29, 7-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11:30 a.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North

Cost: $5-$8 (advance), $7-$10 (at the gate)

More Info: 937-223-4ART or

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