Oktoberfest Comes to Schenectady!

While the real Oktoberfest—an annual celebration featuring music, parades, pretzels and, yes, beer in Munich, Germany—has been cancelled this year due to Coronavirus concerns, Schenectady lager-lovers are carrying on the beer-drinking spirit right here in the Electric City.


Before we get into the local festivities, a brief history of the 200-plus-year-old celebration: Though people no longer associate Oktoberfest with horses, the first Oktoberfest celebration was a horse race held in honor of the wedding of Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810.  The next year, the attendees remembered the event fondly, and even though there was no wedding to be celebrated, a festival was put on by the Bavarian agricultural association.  Oktoberfest celebrations were held on and off through the 19th century, and the festival began to develop into the one we know today at the end of the 1800s.  In recent years, the event has drawn more than six million visitors annually.


But back to Upstate New York. This Saturday, September 25, Schenectady County will play host to two notable Oktoberfest events of its own—one at Glenville’s Maalwyk Park, and one at craft beer hotspot Frog Alley Brewing.  Starting at noon, the Maalwyk Park party will feature music, vendors, a biergarten, a car show, games, scenic helicopter rides, a stein-hoisting competition and fireworks, and run from noon-9pm.  Over at Frog Alley in Downtown Schenectady, FROGtoberfest will welcome guests at noon for a jam-packed music lineup featuring Skeeter Creek, David J Country, Jackson Michaelson and Granger Smith, plus food and beer trucks located in the brewery’s parking lot.


Not around this weekend but still want to get your Oktoberfest fix?  Coming up in October—or, should we say, Oktober—are two more festivals, if you’re willing to make the drive up to Lake George (seeing the North Country’s fall foliage is an added bonus!).  First comes the Lake George Village Oktoberfest on Friday, October 8 from 5-10pm, which will see Canada Street transformed into a European-style street fair featuring German food and a bier garden by Adirondack Brewery, plus polka music and dancing, carnival rides and booths from local vendors.  A couple weeks later is Northway Brewing’s first-ever Oktoberfest, which will welcome local breweries, distilleries, cideries and wineries to the Queensbury brewery on October 23 from 3-7pm.  Local band North & South Dakota’s will be performing, and tickets include all drinks from local vendors and a complimentary mug. Prost!