Insider’s Guide to Dayton Oktoberfest 

Sept 22, 2017

You probably can’t tell it by the temperature, but fall is calling, and so are brats, bier and a whole lot of art. 

It’s time for the Dayton Art Institute’s annual Oktoberfest and events surrounding it. 

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The celebration is set for Sept. 22 to 24 on the grounds of the museum, located at 456 Belmonte Park N. in Dayton. 

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest 2016

As one of the Dayton-area’s biggest festivals (it’s been going on for a whopping 46 years) it can be a little intimidating, so whether its your first time or you’re looking to make the most of it, here’s your insider’s guide:


Delicious German-inspired dishes from the Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest. STAFF FILE PHOTO Photo: Contributing Writer

The fun kicks off with a Lederhosen Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22. Admission to the community-style lunch is free. 

Brats, metts and tenderloins will be $5, and potato salad and the homemade noodles are $3 (or you combo it with a dessert for $10).

The beer and wine is $5. The beer list includes Miller Lite, Terrapin High 5 IPA, Blue Moon, Crispin Original Apple Cider, Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest and Harvest Shandy, and Warsteiner’s Dunkel, Oktoberfest, Koenig Ludwig Hefeweiss, and Pilsner beers. Wines are Michelle Sparkling Brut, Dr. L Riesling, Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Save Me San Francisco Cabernet Sauvignon, and Deloach Pinot Noir.

The preview party will also feature these beverages (more below). Askins said that while lederhosen is certainly welcome, it is not mandatoryor even expected.


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Oktoberfest Preview Party starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22. 

It includes complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks. There will be 65 artisan exhibitors and 30 food vendors.

There will be a cash bar for international beer and premium wine, and the cover band This Side Up will perform.

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Advance tickets for the Preview Party are $55 for members and $75 for non-members. Admission at the gate is $95. 


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Oktoberfest is noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 and from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24.

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It 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).

Football will be played on four big screen TVs in the so-called “TV Cave.” 

Advance admission is $5 for adults and $3 for those ages 60 and older and ages 7 to 19. Admission at the gate is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. Children ages 6 and younger are free. 

There will be a full live music lineup and art-related activities for children. 

>>MORE: Here’s what bands are playing at DAI’s Oktoberfest this year


Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest got under way Friday, Sept. 25, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 27. The event features more than 40 different beers, including international and local craft. Food ranges from brats and mets to pork chops to pretzels, baklava and kettle corn. Artisans offer jewelry, clothing, artwork and unique gifts for sale. Dayton’s largest festival, Oktoberfest helps the museum continue to offer cultural enrichment and community outreach.

According to DAI organizers, the food options remain fairly consistent from year to year, with popular favorites such as Zombie Dogz and the Associate Board Alumni (the museum’s own) Brats & Metts. The few notable newbies this year are Kona IceNida Thai, and the Drunken Waffle, which features such delicacies as the Reservoir Dog (a waffled corn dog), the Boba Feta Burger (quarter pounder topped with feta cheese and pesto between a waffle), and the Bocheesian Rhapsody (grilled cheddar and Jack cheese between a waffle). 

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute Art Ball 2017


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

For the main two-day party, the one beer truck open for the lederhosen lunch and preview party will be joined by five others, bearing breweries such as Fat Head, Mad Tree, Dogfish, Great Lakes, and popular individual varieties such as New Belgium Fat Tire, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Stone Arrogant Bastard. 

On the wine side, an additional Riesling, Chardonnay, and two Cabernet Sauvignons will be added, as well as a Pinot Grigio and a Dark Red.

>>MORE: More than 40 beers to try this weekend at Dayton Oktoberfest


The new official mug of the Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest, which typically sells 1,000 each year, comes in 16 and 21-ounce varieties and is made by Bubba Jones Cups. Cups and growlers will be available, too. CONTRIBUTED Photo: Contributing Writer

Every year, the DAI offers an “official mug of Oktoberfest.” According to Chris Schairbaum, DAI Oktobefest Co-Chair, they typically sell over 1,000 of these each year. This year, Bubba Jones Cups, an Ohio potter who specializes in handmade ceramic items for craft breweries and enthusiasts, is designing the mug. There will be 16-ounce and 32-ounce mugs available, along with a few ceramic growlers. A mug purchase comes with a free beer ticket.

According to Askins, they had a larger-than-usual group of artisans applying to participate this year, including Renata Kelly, a wearable art artisan who makes, among other things, a shawl one can wear eight different ways.

>>Oktoberfest: 15 early images of the Dayton Art Institute tradition

“Every year, I go home with a new pair of earrings or a bracelet,” said Askins. “We have a handful of people who work in metal and glass, everything from large sculptures you can hang outside to centerpieces for large rooms to items that can fit in your hand. We have committee heads for all of these areas, and they really went above and beyond as far as recruitment.” 


Scenes from Dayton Art Institute's Oktoberfest, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2016. PHOTOS BY TOM GILLIAM, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

The Dayton Art Institute offers some tips and advice for navigating Oktoberfest.

On Friday, September 22, parking will only be available on the museum’s front drive and on the surrounding neighborhood streets; very limited handicapped accessible parking will be available at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. 

During the Lederhosen Lunch on Sept. 22, RTA will provide free shuttles from downtown Dayton to The DAI from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. RTA shuttle riders may board and exit shuttles at any stop along the route that runs from the Oregon District, west along Fifth Street, north on Main Street, Second Street, Wilkinson Street and Monument Avenue to the Lederhosen Lunch. Patrons needing special assistance or access during this time may call the museum’s Guest Services Desk, at 937-223-4ART (4278).

During the Oktoberfest Preview Party, 7–11 p.m. on Friday, September 22, shuttle service will be offered from the University of Dayton parking lot behind the Marriott, just off Patterson Boulevard. 

>>MORE: Here’s how to park at Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest


The easiest way of getting to and from the museum during Oktoberfest is by using the free shuttle services. Look for the Oktoberfest signs and park for free at the University of Dayton lot behind the Marriott, just off Patterson Boulevard, and take free shuttles directly to and from Oktoberfest. On September 23–24, you may also park downtown and take a free RTA Oktoberfest shuttle, with stops along Monument Avenue, Wilkinson Street, Second Street, Main Street, and Fifth Street. Bicycle racks, courtesy of Bike Miami Valley, will be available near the main festival entrance at Belmonte Park and Riverview Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, noon–7 p.m.