Spokane Oktoberfest

Vendors sold traditional German food, drinks and sweets while bands performed at the fifth-annual Spokane Oktoberfest.

While the weather may have suggested that Christmas was approaching, a bit of Bavaria descended upon the Centerplace Regional Event Center in Spokane Valley at the fifth annual Spokane Oktoberfest.

Running from Friday through Sunday, the celebration welcomed around 4,000 visitors to a weekend filled with beers, brats and German drinking songs. The main hall of the event center had a stage and was lined with six long tables of 200 seats each. Outside, vendors sold food, drinks and sweets while bands performed at a second, covered stage. Although Leavenworth’s rendition of the festival may be the most well-known in the state, Spokane’s version impressed. 

“While nothing can compare to the true Oktoberfest in Munich,” said Dan Rice, a resident of Spokane Valley and two-time attendee of Oktoberfest in Germany, “I really thought that Spokane Oktoberfest was something pretty special.”

In addition to the popular bratwurst, guests could also enjoy traditional German foods such as Sauerbraten (potato dumplings stuffed with meat) and Spaetzle (egg noodle pasta). To wash it all down, the festival had a lager and an ale from Paulaner Brewery, a nearly 400-year-old brewery from Bavaria, in addition to beverages from local breweries such as Millwood Brewing Co., Steam Plant and Mountain Lakes Brewing Co.

“We didn’t want to be like a typical bar that puts on an Oktoberfest and sells a German beer or two,” said Tom Stebbins, the media contact for the JAKT Foundation that puts on the event. “We wanted to holistically recreate Oktoberfest with authentic drinks, foods, and music.” 

Once food and drink were taken care of, visitors could help themselves to a variety of activities. Classic games such as corn hole, ring toss, and water pong were set up all around the event. Lesser known games such as Nagelspielen, a traditional German game where players race one another in hammering a nail into a wooden stump, became fan favorites.

“I never realized that pounding a nail into a stump could be such a good time,” said Aidan Feehan, a junior at GU.

The event was put on by the JAKT Foundation, an organization that focuses on hosting events that create a sense of community in Spokane Valley. In addition to Crave! Northwest and the Spokane Valley Farmers Market, the JAKT Foundation organizes Oktoberfest to give the residents of Spokane Valley a fun reason to congregate in the fall.

“Spokane Valley is the 10th largest city in the state of Washington and our group noticed there was a lack of events,” Stebbins said. “We host multiple events and Oktoberfest has grown into one of our most popular.”

While the event may be finished for 2019, the sixth rendition of Spokane Oktoberfest will take place in September 2020.

Zachary Walls is a contributor. Follow him on Twitter: @Zachary_Walls1.

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