DAI Oktoberfest on pace for record-breaking year, organizers say

The 48th annual Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest reported the festival was having a record year for attendance before the weekend was over. PHOTO / CONTRIBUTED
The 48th annual Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest reported the festival was having a record year for attendance before the weekend was over. PHOTO / CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Before one of Dayton’s most popular festivals even jumped into its final day, organizers were calling it a record year.

At the midpoint of the Dayton Art Institute’s 48th annual Oktoberfest, the museum reported it had received record community support for the annual fundraiser. According to preliminary totals for Saturday attendance alone, 15,000 festival goers came through the gates, said Eric Brockman, the DAI marketing and communications manager. Historically, the festival usually sees 25,000 to 30,000 attendees total for the entire weekend.

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“I would say obviously great weather always has an impact and we’ve had beautiful weather,” Brockman said. “I think it’s a combination of we really had beautiful weather this weekend and I think with everything that’s happened over summer in Dayton, people just want an opportunity to get out and relax, kind of get their minds off of everything that’s gone on over past few months and over summer. It’s an opportunity to come together as community.”

According to the museum, Friday’s Preview Party set attendance records, and preliminary numbers indicate record revenue for that event.

“The community’s support for this event and the museum during our centennial year has been outstanding,” said Dayton Art Institute Director and CEO Michael R. Roediger. “It’s been fantastic to welcome so many people to the museum grounds this weekend–we hope to see another record crowd on Sunday as we conclude the festival. The money raised at Oktoberfest helps support museum operations and programs throughout the year.”

Oktoberfest continues on Sunday, September 29, from noon to 7 p.m.

The ACCO Brands FamilyFest returns on Sunday, noon–4:30 p.m., with special activities for all ages in the museum and on the grounds near the museum entrance, according to a release. The museum’s collection galleries, as well as the Museum Store and Leo Bistro, will be open noon–5 p.m. Admission to the museum’s collection galleries and focus exhibitions is included in Oktoberfest admission. General admission for Oktoberfest is $10 adults, $7 seniors and youth. Children 6 and under are free.

On average, DAI’s Oktoberfest raises nearly $450,000 for critical operations. Brockman said the museum will have a clearer picture as to how successful the 2019 festival really was, early on this week. He expects this year’s Oktoberfest will have likely surpassed the $450,000 benchmark.

Making sure it remains a Dayton festival mainstay each year, the DAI has raised its own entertainment bar— adding amenities like the “TV Cave” with four big-screen TVs for guests who don’t want to miss the weekend sports action. The festival included a fully covered main stage area, food court Live music and two large tents that included more than 60 artisans and vendors.

Oktoberfest has been an ingrained Dayton tradition since 1972.