Polka dancing, live music and German beer will soon fill Helen’s Festhalle because Oktoberfest is returning for its 50th year.
The festivities were canceled in 2020 to abide by the state’s COVID-19 regulations for live performance venues. With those restrictions now lifted, Renee Green, executive director of the Helen Chamber of Commerce, said the Alpine village is ready to revive the celebration.
“It’s our opportunity to showcase our 50th anniversary again. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited,” Green said. “Our bands get to come back again, and people get to hear authentic music and see people in German clothing.”
The weeks of festivities will kick off Thursday, Sept. 9 and continue on set dates until Sunday, Nov. 7. Green said hand sanitizer will be stationed around the Festhalle and mask-wearing will be optional.
“Whatever is suggested per the governor or CDC by the time this happens is what we’ll follow,” she said.
Green said people can expect the traditional Helen Oktoberfest they know and love with special offerings for the 50-year milestone that have yet to be revealed.
“We do have a few things up our sleeve,” she said.
When people attend this year’s Oktoberfest, Green said she wants them to take away “the traditional authentic German experience.” By contract, she said 90% of all music played at the event must be Bavarian.
Some of the bands performing this year include Yodel Blitz, The Czechers, Prost, Squeeze Box, Alpenmusikanten, Europa and Martin Gross und sein Sonnenschein Express. For the full entertainment schedule, visit helenchamber.com.
Green welcomes people of all ages, both loyal Oktoberfest goers and new, to don their dirndls and lederhosen and celebrate the festival’s momentous birthday.
“We hope they come here and they learn what we’ve been doing for 50 years, and we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing for 50 years,” she said. “Just come enjoy and experience it with us.”
Helen’s 50th Oktoberfest celebration
When: Thursday, Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept.12; Thursday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 19; Thursday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Nov. 7
Where: Helen’s Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen.
Hours: 6-10:30 p.m. weekdays; 6 p.m. to midnight Friday; 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday; 1-7 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $8 per person Monday-Friday, $10 Saturday, free on Sunday; kids 6 and under are free, ages 6-12 half off
More info: 706-878-1619, helenchamber.com