Since 1972, Oktoberfest, the Dayton Art Institute’s largest fundraiser, has been untapped for the community.

PROST! It’s officially Oktoberfest season! Here are the best celebrations near Dayton

One of the best things about fall in Dayton, Ohio? Festivals, festivals, festivals.

Even better? Oktoberfests, Oktoberfests, Oktoberfests!

Dayton is lucky enough to be surrounded by some great Oktoberfest events every year. 

>> FESTIVAL MADNESS: It’s non-stop food, beer and cheers in September

And even though it’s not October, Oktoberfest season is in full swing. 

Here is a list of upcoming Oktoberfest celebrations we can’t wait to enjoy:

>> Dayton's BEST potato salads

Vandalia Oktoberfest 

Susie Wright (left) and Sharon Werling (right) are overseeing the German potato salad production this year. They are dressed in dirndls, a traditional German dress, in anticipation of the 32nd annual Oktoberfest in Vandalia.
Photo: Contributed photo

Vandalia Sister Cities has brought back Oktoberfest after canceling last year’s event. This festival has been a 40-year tradition. The two-day event will include homemade potato salad, cabbage rolls, giant German brats, sauerkraut, baked goods, popcorn and pretzels. There will also be arts and craft vendors on site. Both days will feature live music, including Todd Moore on Friday and DJ Dave Marquette and The Menus on Saturday.

WHEN: Sept. 7-8. The event runs 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, and noon to midnight on Saturday.

WHERE: Vandalia Sports Complex, 1111 Stonequarry Road.

COST: Admission is $5 each day.

MORE INFO: Website | Facebook

Springboro Oktoberfest 

This Oktoberfest just keeps growing and growing. It’s one of the newer Oktoberfests on the block. This festival, now in its sixth year, offers hearty helpings of German food and possibly the best selection of wursts in a 50-mile radius. The menu will also include chicken goulash, jagerschnitzel, cabbage rolls, pretzels, semmelknoedel, käsespätzle, apple strudel and more. More than a dozen craft beers, ciders and wine will be available to help you wash all that food down. Oh, did we mention there are dachschund races, a hot-dog eating contest AND a beard contest? Musical entertainment includes the Chardon Polka Band on Friday and the Klaberheads on Saturday.

>> Smales gets brand new sign with GIANT pretzel 

WHEN: Sept. 7-8. Friday 6 p.m. to midnight. Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight

WHERE: Springboro United Church of Christ, 5 W. Mill St.

COST: Admission is $3 and proceeds go to help a number of worthy charities, including The Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Shriners Hospitals for Children and The Springboro Community Assistance Center.

MORE INFO: Website | Facebook

>> What you need to know about Springboro Oktoberfest

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>> Why this Oktoberfest has gotten some national attention

Oktoberfest at Dayton Art Institute 

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

Nothing says Dayton fall like the Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest. Things kick off on 11 a.m. Friday with the Lederhosen Lunch. Food is available for purchase, and admission is free. That will be followed by a Preview Party at 7 p.m., with complimentary draft beer, wine and soft drinks. Admission in advance is $55 for members and $75 for non-members. Tickets cost $95 at the gate.

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest 2017

The main event (Sept. 22-23) features domestic, international and craft beers, international wines, food, kid-friendly art activities and more, with live music on two stages throughout the weekend. Admission in advance: $8 (adults), $5 (seniors and youth). Admission at gate: $10 (adults) $7 (seniors and youth). Children 6 and under are free.

WHEN: Sept. 21-23. Friday, Lederhosen Lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Preview Party (7-11 p.m.). Saturday (noon to 11:30 p.m.). Sunday (noon to 7 p.m.)

WHERE: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton

COST: Lederhosen Lunch (Free admission; food & drink available for purchase); Preview Party (Advance Tickets are $55 for members and $75 for non-members and $95 at the gate); Main festival (Advance tickets are $8 adults, $5 seniors and youth ages 7-18 and tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $7 seniors and youth)

MORE INFO: Website | Facebook

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest 2017

Minster is a small village located approximately one hour north of Dayton. Every year, their Oktoberfest weekend attracts a crowd roughly 30 times the size of the village population (yes, we said 30).
Photo: Tom Gilliam

Minster Oktoberfest

Organizers say more than 80,000 people flock to the Auglaize County village each year for this festival emphasizing the community’s German heritage. Music, food, and, of course, beer are the stars of the event. However, Minster’s Oktoberfest offers unique twists like beer tray relays, a jug hoist, a car show and a 10k run to help clear space for all those calories. Live music, German mass and pageants will also take place. See the event schedule for details.

>> PHOTOS: Minster Oktoberfest 2017

WHEN: Oct. 5-7. Friday 6 p.m. to midnight. Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight. Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

WHERE: Oktoberfest is located one block west of the intersection of SR-119 and SR-66 in Minster.

MORE INFO: Website | Facebook


Columbus Oktoberfest 2018 — Sept. 7-9

Perhaps the oldest Oktoberfest celebration on the list, the Columbus Oktoberfest celebrates its 53rd year this year.  Three 100-year-old historic covered pavilions at the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair provide the perfect backdrop for two stages and dance floors for lots of polkas. Expect live music, food, bier, crafts and more. Admission is free. For more information, visit the event Facebook page

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 2018 — Sept. 21-23

It’s been said that this Oktoberfest is “America’s Oktoberfest.” This huge event celebrating Cincinnati’s German heritage has a reputation as one of the best Oktoberfests around. Some of the highlights beyond the wide variety of craft beer, limited release beers and regular ‘ole beer: Weiner races, a brat eating contest that will include the famous hot-dog-eating-champ Joey Chestnut, barell rolls, stein races and more. More info: Facebook

>> World hot-dog-eating champ Joey Chestnut is coming to the area to chomp away the competition once again