Oktoberfest Activities Spotlight Missouri's German Heritage


Article Tags:

Festivals , German fare
Traditional German food, drink and dance are highlights of festivities
Author: Stephen Foutes
Break out the lederhosen and get ready for a smidgen of schnitzel. It’s almost fall, when communities across Missouri celebrate the state’s German heritage at Oktoberfest.

German roots run deep in the Show-Me State, which is one of the reasons Missouri has a designated German Heritage Corridor encompassing several counties, and the city of St. Louis, situated along the Missouri River.

While many Missouri towns owe their existence to German settlers, perhaps none embraces its heritage more than Hermann, a city of about 2,400 that welcomes thousands and thousands of visitors during October.

Celebrated on weekends,
Hermann’s Oktoberfest features German-inspired cuisine (along with wine and beer), people in traditional German attire and abundant live music, with the beautiful Missouri River valley serving as the perfect backdrop for the revelry.

It’s that very setting that is believed to be the reason for Hermann’s existence. According to the
Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce, it seems likely that scouts from the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia picked this position along the Missouri River because it reminded them of the Rhine Valley in their home country.

Whatever the reason, things seem to have worked out for Hermann, where homes dating to the 1800s dot the landscape, more than 150 properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the city’s German roots are celebrated by locals and visitors alike.

If you can’t make it to Hermann for Oktoberfest, don’t worry. Missouri has you covered.

In St. Charles, they’re celebrating
30 years of Oktoberfest from Sept. 23-25.

Some 70,000 people are expected to join the fun in Lee’s Summit, where
the downtown area hosts a variety of activities Sept. 23-24.

The Sikeston Jaycees
host a one-day event full of music, food and fun on Oct. 8 at the Sikeston Rodeo Grounds.

Missouri’s capital has a
two-day Oktoberfest celebration in the city’s Old Munichburg area, a traditionally German neighborhood.

In Springfield, the proceeds from
Sertoma Oktoberfest, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, help benefit area agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club.

Downtown Joplin hosts a day full of German food and music (Polka, anyone?!) during its Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 8.

Get out to an Oktoberfest in the Show-Me State. It’s a great way to spend a fall afternoon while giving a nod to the people who helped shape Missouri.