Every year, the small village of Minster, Ohio, located one hour north of Dayton, hosts an Oktoberfest that attracts a crowd three times its population of near-3,000 people. CONTRIBUTED

Why this small town’s Oktoberfest is worth the drive

Minster is a small village located approximately one hour north of Dayton. Every year, their Oktoberfest weekend attracts a crowd roughly three times the size of its population of near 3,000.

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This year’s festival will take place this weekend, Oct. 4-6, 2019.

HOW IT STARTED

Minster Oktoberfest was born in the 1970s by two community-service organizations, the Kiwanis and Jaycees. While brainstorming how to raise funds for their organizations, which included a brief stint selling light bulbs door to door, they attended an Oktoberfest-like festival and a different kind of light bulb went off. 

After doing their research and securing a personal bank loan, the Kiwanis and Jaycees debuted the first Minster Oktoberfest. The large crowds it attracted are a big reason why they’re still doing it 45 years later, and it is now the primary, if not only, fundraiser for more than 20 community-service organizations, including the Jaycees and the Kiwanis (now known as the Journeyman’s Club and the Minster Service Club, respectively). 

Here are 10 reasons you should attend Minster Oktoberfest.

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Every year, the small village of Minster, Ohio, located one hour north of Dayton, hosts an Oktoberfest that attracts a crowd three times its population of near-3,000 people. CONTRIBUTED

1. BEER RELAY RACES

The rules are simple. Thirty-four teams of four people each will run a relay race carrying beer trays. They will have to negotiate several obstacles while spilling as little beer as possible. Spilling an entire cup (or tray) is an automatic disqualification, while spillage will count against you. The best beer tray relay racers possess a combination of speed, balance, coordination, and a sense of humor. The race will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday on 4th St.

The 37th annual Minster Oktoberfest will take place on Oct. 2 through Oct. 4 , but Saturday will be the biggest day with all sorts of beer-related activities that you wouldn’t typically expect. (Source: Facebook)

2. JUG HOIST

The Jug Hoist immediately follows the beer tray relay race at 4 p.m. Saturday. Twenty-four people, including the male and female champions of 2018 if they wish to participate, will hold a jug of beer at arms-length with their index and middle fingers (no thumbs), their knees locked, their other arm flat at their side, and standing straight up (no leaning backward). Judges will watch and decide who’s abiding by the rules and who isn’t.

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). TOM GILLIAM / STAFF
Photo: Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam

3. THE BEER

Anheiser-Busch, Sam Adams, Moeller Brew Barn, and Yuengling will be providing suds for Minster Oktoberfest, but there’ll be a diverse selection of craft beers as well. 

Sam Adams will serve its Boston Lager and Oktoberfest, but also Angry Orchard Crisp Apple, Twisted Tea Original, Angry Orchard Rose and the Sam Adams varieties Rebel IPA, Cream Stout, Cherry Wheat, Kosmic Sour, Sam ’76, and New England IPA. 

Moeller Brew Barn will serve Marzen Oktoberfest, Dunkelweizen, Blackberry Prairie Wheat, First on the Moon Pale Ale, and Shelby 1819.  

Yuengling will serve its original lager, Black and Tan, Oktoberfest, Light Lager, and Golden Pilsner.  

Other craft beers include Goose Island Oktoberfest, Goose Island Next Coast IPA, Hoegaarden (wheat), Breckinridge Vanilla Porter, Elysian Space Dust IPA, and Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier.

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). TOM GILLIAM / STAFF
Photo: Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam

4. SELTZERS  

Minster Oktoberfest will feature the Truly Hard Seltzer varieties Wild Berry, Black Cherry, Rose, and Blue Berry & ACAI. There will also be the SpikedSeltzers Cape Cod Cranberry, West Indies Lime, Valencia Orange, and Indian River Grapefruit.  

5. THE FOOD

Various civic organizations will put up food vendor booths at Minster Oktoberfest. The menu encompasses traditional German and American comfort food. You will find sausage & sauerkraut sandwiches, sauerkraut balls, shredded pork, Bahama burgers, German potato salad, hot dogs, Reubens, grilled cheese sandwiches, brats, metts, cheeseburgers, Philly cheesesteak, soft pretzels, cream puffs, apple strudel, funnel cakes, kettle corn, popcorn, cotton candy, and much more.  

6. LIVE MUSIC

The musical lineup at Minster Oktoberfest comprises German, polka, and dance music. The lineup includes The Klaberheads, the Autobahn Band, Reflektion, Karma’s Pawn, Ohio Brewed, the Cincinnati Schnapps Band, the Zinzinnati Bier Band, Steve Rosenbeck, and the Euro Mutts.  

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

7. OKTOBERFEST CLASSIC 10K

The Minster Oktoberfest 10k run takes place Sunday morning. The course is flat and will feature music along the way. There will be awards and prize money up to $500 ($2000 if any course records are broken). There’s also a one-mile fun run. Registering on the day of the race is only $5.  

8. CAR SHOW  

The Minster Oktoberfest car show features makes and models from all types and eras. You’ll see pre-war antiques, 1960s-70s muscle cars, and the cars of tomorrow. Car show registration begins Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Judging is at noon and awards will be handed out at 1 p.m. Registration is $10 per car and top finishers will participate in the Oktoberfest Parade. There’ll also be a DJ and raffle prizes for entrants.  

9. OKTOBERFEST PARADE

The theme for the Minster Oktoberfest Parade 2019 is “A Time For Heritage.” The parade starts at 2 p.m. Sunday and proceed throughout downtown Minster.  

This is the 38th year for the Mister Oktoberfest, which celebrates the village's German heritage.
Photo: Contributed

10. OTHER ACTIVITIES

Minster Oktoberfest will also feature a Miss Oktoberfest Pageant (ages 16-21) and a Little Miss Oktoberfest Contest (ages 5-6), an arts and crafts show, and a coloring contest.

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

WANT TO GO?

What: Minster Oktoberfest

Where: Minster, Ohio: One block west of the intersection of Ohio 119 and Ohio 66

When: Oct. 4-6, 2019. Festival hours are 6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 9:30 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

Cost: No admission cost

More Info: www.minsteroktoberfest.com

>> The best Oktoberfest celebrations near Dayton

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 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

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