Changes announced for 50th annual Oktoberfest at Dayton Art Institute

The Dayton Art Institute has announced changes for this year’s 50th annual Oktoberfest to help ensure a safe celebration.

Some of event hours and format have been adjusted in the wake of increased COVID cases.

“We are excited to welcome the return of the DAI’s Oktoberfest this year but we have also been closely monitoring developments with the pandemic over the course of the summer and are mindful of the rising number of COVID cases due to the Delta variant,” said Michael R. Roediger, DAI Director and CEO, in a release. “In order to make this outdoor festival as safe as possible for guests, staff and volunteers, we will be making some important changes to the festival layout and our Saturday hours.”

The Oktoberfest weekend begins Friday, Sept. 24 with the Lederhosen Lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the Preview Party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Oktoberfest hours on Saturday, Sept. 25 will be adjusted to noon to 8 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 26, the hours will be noon to 7 p.m.

New this year, a special “Last Call” Happy Hour, will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday and feature $5 draft beers as well as $5 for all selections in the Weingarten and Cantina.

The museum building and collection galleries will be closed to the public from Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26.

The two enclosed artisan tents will be eliminated on the festival grounds.

“It was a very difficult decision to remove the artisan tents for 2021 as this has been a core part of the festival since its inception 50 years ago,” Roediger said. “These tents are enclosed to protect the artisans’ wares and as a result are not well ventilated. We felt it would be in everyone’s best interest to not include these tents in the festival layout this year.”

The change will also allow for moving several food vendors in the food court and vendor booths near the main festival tent to create more space on the museum grounds. These changes will help to improve what have traditionally been congested areas at the festival.

There will also be fewer tables and chairs in the food court and main festival tents with more seating and open tents added throughout the grounds to help spread crowds out over a larger area.

“As the DAI’s largest annual fundraiser it’s vitally important to museum operations that we hold Oktoberfest but we want to do so in a responsible manner,” Roediger said. “We feel these changes will allow us to move forward with Oktoberfest in a safe and enjoyable manner for all. I look forward to welcoming the community to the DAI for the festival’s 50th anniversary!”

The DAI still needs volunteers to assist with the festival. Oktoberfest wouldn’t be possible without the support of hundreds of volunteers.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Many different volunteer opportunities are available including selling Oktoberfest mugs and T-shirts, selling soft drinks and water, staffing admission gates and assisting with family activities at the ACCO Brands FamilyFest.

Those interested in volunteering must register through the Oktoberfest page on the Dayton Art Institute’s website.

Advance general admission tickets for Oktoberfest (Saturday/Sunday) are $8 adults, $5 seniors and youth (ages 7–18). Tickets purchased at the gate are $10 adults, $7 seniors and youth. Children 6 and under are free. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum’s Guest Services Desk or by calling 937-223-4ART (4278) during regular museum hours.

Advance general admission tickets can also be purchased at the following pre-sale locations through the close of business on Friday, Sept. 24: Dorothy Lane Market at the Oakwood, Wilmington Square and Springboro locations; Arrow Wine at 2950 Far Hills Ave. and 615 Lyons Rd.; Old Scratch Pizza at 812 S. Patterson Blvd. and 440 Miamisburg Centerville Rd.; and Ghostlight Coffee at 800 S. Patterson Blvd. and 1201 Wayne Ave.

More information and updates about Oktoberfest can be found here.

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