Oktoberfest at the Deutsches Haus is a New Orleans Institution.
The Deutsches Haus, an organization formed in New Orleans in 1928 to assist German immigrants in assimilating to life in New Orleans, has been hosting Oktoberfest in New Orleans for generations. My husband and I have been going to local Oktoberfest festivals since we started dating while in medical school in Florida. Even then, we preferred the Oktoberfest festivals hosted by local German organizations. Since moving to New Orleans, the Oktoberfest festival held by the Deutsches Haus has exceeded expectations in fun and entertainment! Now we are excited to share our fun with our toddler. She was definitely living her best life last year and we cannot wait to go this year! Here are five reasons why Oktoberfest in New Orleans is a family tradition you should start this year:
Until 2010, the New Orleans iteration of Oktoberfest was held in Mid-City on South Galvez St. In 2011, the old Haus, and the majority of the neighborhood surrounding it was purchased through eminent domain and demolished for the construction of the new University Medical Center. The organization found a temporary home in Metairie and began hosting Oktoberfest in Kenner. Though the Kenner Rivertown location has served Oktoberfest well in the interim, this is the second year that Oktoberfest will be at its permanent home on Moss Street. Hurra!
The move back to Orleans Parish is a huge win for the Haus, which had been diligently working toward settling into its permanent home. The location on Moss Street is a bit more central for folks coming from the city and offers fantastic views of Bayou St. John and City Park.
2. Weenie Dog Races
Everyone knows that for the most part, kids love dogs. Everyone also knows that dogs are more enjoyable when they are not yours. Therefore, your dog-obsessed children + dogs that aren’t yours = fun for everyone. The Dachshund Dash, which usually occurs in the afternoon of the last Saturday of the Fest (10/22 this year), is a great opportunity to see some cute pups duke it out for the title of speediest weenie dog. Some owners even dress up their pooches in tiny Alpine hats and flower crowns. Watch your favorite dog as they as they go from Weiner to winner in an all-out sprint to the finish line. Side note- All dogs are welcome to the festival every day.
3. Free for Kids 12 and Under
There are endless festivals and events in New Orleans in October. What is the greatest point of differentiation between Oktoberfest and other activities, perhaps, is that the vast majority of these other events not only cost money, but they get to be downright expensive. Oktoberfest is free for kids 11 and under, and tickets for paying attendees are only $10 at the door (cash only). With kid-friendly activities like face painting, story time, and puppet shows, the only thing happier than your little ones will be your wallet. My little one especially loved the light-up headbands.
4. Chicken Dance
Who doesn’t love that old Bavarian favorite, the Chicken Dance? Some poor, patient soul dresses up as a giant furry chicken dutifully leading the masses in some old-fashioned booty shaking multiple times a day. And kids love seeing fuzzy, life-sized characters. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. The Chicken will also walk around the festival to take pictures and dance with your little ones. Seriously, she would not stop smiling at them.
5. Old School German Food
In a town that used to be renowned for German restaurants such as Kolb’s, Oktoberfest offers attendees a taste of the German foods of yesteryear: sauerbraten (braised roast beef), krautwickel (ground beef rolled in sausage) and of course, brats and pretzels, just to name a few. The dishes are all handmade by members of the Deustches Haus, using recipes that have been passed down to them. Not to mention, my personal favorite is the wine and cheese pairings from St. James Cheese Company.
Oktoberfest is a sort of pop-up for German cuisine in a city known for its diverse food palette. Obviously, these delectable dishes are in addition to the massive selection of German-style beers, wine, schnapps, and snacks available at every turn. Non-alcoholic beverages are available too, of course. Go ahead, let your foodie flag fly.
So when you’re thinking of fun, family activities in New Orleans this October, make sure that bringing the family to celebrate Oktoberfest’s return to Mid-City tops your list. We hope to see you there. Prost!
October 7-8 • 14-15 • 21-22
Fridays – 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturdays – 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
1700 Moss St. • New Orleans, LA 70119
Admission: $10 for people over 11.
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