by Michael Bradford
It’s that time of year when the hills around Shenandoah Valley are painted in Autumn’s colors, the last apples are picked from the orchards, and the air in Old Town Winchester is crisp and the atmosphere warm. Residents and visitors savor this beautiful season by dining al fresco in one of Old Town’s many restaurants, or finding that one-of-a-kind treasure in one of the many boutiques.
On October 17 and 18, the streets of Old Town Winchester will reverberate with “Gutan tag” and “Ein prosit” as visitors are welcomed to another Gateway Funding Octobeer Fest. This two-day event is a great foundation for a weekend trip to Winchester. Octobeer Fest merges a wine and beer festival with a spirited revelry that has lasted generations.
Oktoberfest is a German tradition that began on the fields of Bavaria roughly two centuries ago. The 19th century had barely begun when Prince Ludwig invited the citizens to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese. The following year it was decided that such a great time was had by all, the prudent action would be to repeat the celebration, and thus Oktoberfest commenced. More than 25 different craft beers — several of them seasonal brews — and 15 wines from around the globe will surely satisfy wine enthusiasts and craft beer buffs alike. Beers like Löwenbräu Original and Krombacer Dark, and Erbacher and Matheus wineries have added a German Season Change Marks Return of Oktoberfest to Old Town Winchester by Michael Bradford flavor in the past, and should offer delicious choices again this year.
Oktoberfest staples kielbasa and pretzels, courtesy of Village Market Bistro and Jordan Springs Market BBQ, will be on hand to complement the spirits on tap.
Throughout the event live entertainment will accentuate the ambiance of the mall with traditional Biergarten oompah music echoing down Loudoun Street courtesy of the Edelweiss Band. Hailing from the Washington, D.C. area, current and previous members of The Edelwiess Band have been entertaining crowds in the region since 1969. After the success of last year’s Octobeer Fest, they are returning to Old Town Winchester to bring a blend of woodwind, brass horns, and percussion that will have attendees wanting to dance along with their take on traditional themes.
If the spirit of the music, and maybe of the drink, moves you to the dance floor but you are an einsteiger (beginner), don’t worry because there will be, on hand, a troupe of Bavarian dancers spinning, gliding and instructing onlookers. So don’t be shy, and come prepared to dance!
Entertainment won’t be limited to the established event area. Amid other attractions, an accordion player will be waltzing up and down the walking mall delighting the public.
A weekend stay at the Four Diamond Award winning Bavarian Inn nestled in historic Shepherdstown, W.Va., will be up for grabs to the lucky attendee who wants it the most. This means, herren and frauen, come dressed in your absolute best lederhosen, finest dirndls, and biggest smiles for the Best Bavarian Costume contest Friday night.
Old Town Winchester features over 60 eclectic shops and over 30 different dining options with several of these downtown establishments open for business and incorporating the Bavarian motif during this event.
Children are welcome with adult supervision, and not only do children 12 years old and younger receive free admission, there will be plenty of activities along the walking mall to delight and entertain the youngsters in your life.
Octobeer Fest is rain or shine, and will offer seating in several large tents decorated in the same vein as a German Brat Haus, so make sure to bring an umbrella or rain coat if inclement weather is predicted, and do not let Mother Nature keep you at home.
Visit OldTownWinchesterVA.com for updates, event times, tickets, contact details, and any additional information. Single day admission tickets are available right now for purchase via a link on the website. Make sure to acquire the Advance Tasting Package which ensures that you will receive the souvenir 4 oz. tasting glass, as supplies will be limited.
A great source of information about Octobeer Fest and other goings on in Old Town Winchester is the Old Town Winchester app. This is free and available on iOS and Android devices, with many useful features including an upcoming event calendar, map of dining options, shopping hot spots, special deals, GPS guided tours, and other features to check out!
“Great events begin here” in Old Town Winchester and we sincerely hope that you will join us this autumn. Whether it’s a one-day escapade or a weekend getaway, Old Town Winchester would be delighted to host you during Octobeer Fest or another one of our fine events. Then after you have checked out all that Old Town Winchester has to offer, we will see you off with a friendly “Auf wiedersehen” — until next time!