By Amanda Push, Contributor
The end of September marks the start Omaha’s popular fall festivities. And as October approaches, Oktoberfest celebrations begin.
Oktoberfest is a 16-day German festival celebrated around the world. Each year, millions of people participate in the largest Oktoberfest festivals, held throughout Germany. However, even cities as far away as Omaha join in the fun. One such business, Huber-Haus – an authentic German Bier Hall located in Midtown and a popular weekend destination for University of Nebraska at Omaha students – will be holding its 12th annual Oktoberfest.
On Sept. 27 and 28, Huber-Haus staff, along with a group of volunteers, will serve thousands of Omahans looking to partake in the German celebrations.
“We had about 8,000 people come through last year,” Kandace Gladwin, Oktoberfest event coordinator for Huber-Haus, said.
The festival is free and family friendly, and visitors are also welcome to bring their own mugs.
“Early on it’s a lot of families that come down,” Gladwin added.
However, after 9 p.m. the bar is closed to the under-21 crowd.
Activities include a 1-liter endurance hold, a speed liter game, a foot-long brat challenge and a pretzel-eating contest. Staff and participants can often be found in traditional German attire, such as lederhosen (short or knee-length leather breeches worn by males) and dirndls (an ensemble consisting of a bodice, blouse, full-skirt and apron).
“There’s a lot of people that come dressed up,” Gladwin said.
On both days the bar’s owner Bill Baburek does a ceremonial keg-tapping under the Oktoberfest tents. He thanks all the participants for coming – then adults can line up and sample the beer.
“It’s in honor of a Munich tradition where the mayor taps the keg on the first day of Oktoberfest and declares ‘it is open,'” Chris Vettini, social media coordinator and bartender for Huber-Haus, said.
German beers that will be sold at the two-day event include: Hofbrau, Warsteiner, Weihenstephaner, Ayinger, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner. American Oktoberfest beers, as well as root beer will also be available.
For those looking for authentic German cuisine, schnitzels, pretzels flown in from Bavaria, spaetzle and desserts from Gerda’s – a local German restaurant – can be found.
During Oktoberfest 2012, Huber-Haus went through 276 kegs of beer, 800 pretzel sandwiches and 1,300 schnitzel sandwiches. This year, Gladwin ordered 1,500 brats.
Participants can expect live music both nights of the festival. The Barry Boyce Band will be playing Friday, while Bobby “Z” and Polka Joy will perform on Saturday.
On Friday, festivities will run from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.