Oktoberfest took place from Oct. 1-3 and will continue next weekend Oct. 8-10 at the SteelStacks. The festival celebrates German culture through food, dance and other traditions. (Yifan Zhang/B&W Staff)

Oktoberfest brings German festivities to Bethlehem


Oktoberfest, a festival celebrating German culture, was held this past weekend and will run next weekend, providing the Lehigh Valley with an array of events and attractions to enjoy.

Presented by Lehigh Valley Internal Airport and orchestrated by ArtsQuest, the festival features brew samples, authentic German food and beer, as well as live music and activities, such as the famous dachshund race. 

Now in its 11th year, the celebration added Pierogipalooza, where individuals can purchase a “pierogi passport,” allowing them to try up to six different types of pierogies ranging from sweet to savory flavors.

Savory varieties include Buffalo chicken, baked potato, jalapeño popper, Philly cheesesteak and Reuben pierogies. Those with a sweet tooth can try the sweet potato pie, maple and marshmallow varieties.

Nicole Harrell, director of communications for ArtsQuest, said her favorite part of the event is taste testing all the food. 

Most of the food at Oktoberfest is catered by Palette & Pour restaurant, a new full service bar and kitchen located on the first floor of the ArtsQuest facilities.  

First-time attendee Katherine Pula said she was excited by the food offerings.

“I am here to enjoy it and see what food and drinks there are to try,” Pula said.

Sarah Starr, ‘23, decided to volunteer at ArtsQuest, as she is taking a business communications class which encouraged students to partake in community outreach events. 

She volunteered on the “eco squad” for Oktoberfest. 

Starr said she was pleasantly surprised with how many vendors were there and looked forward to seeing what the festival had to offer. 

Zachary Olsen, ‘22, said he enjoyed the variety of activities that were available to participate in, as well as the food and drinks, which he thought were moderately priced. Olsen said the people running the event created a great atmosphere.

“All of the staff who were German were very nice, they wanted to see us all experience it for the first time,” he said. 

Olson said he will be attending the event again in the future.

Oktoberfest also featured several independent vendors selling food and other goods for festival-goers to purchase.

Peppers of Key West, based out of Florida, sold a variety of sauces. Booth operator Pete Legardy said this is their first ArtsQuest event and they hope to be at many more including Christkindlmart in the winter. 

Oktoberfest is also hosting the Pennsylvania state steinholding championships, a competition during which participants hold a stein filled with water directly in front of them for as long as they can. 

During the first festival weekend, individuals can qualify for the competition, with the finals occurring on Oct. 5. Having tried the event, Harrell said it was surprisingly more challenging than she expected when the glasses are so full.

Adding to the list of activities, dachshund racing took place in multiple rounds throughout the day. Participating dogs could compete in short sprints with one being crowned the winner. 

“I don’t think you can go wrong with any event if people want to stop by,” Harrell said. 

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