DCP’s complete guide to DAI’s 40th Annual Oktoberfest
By Kevin J. Gray
This year marks the 40th Annual Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest. In honor of that tremendous milestone, Dayton City Paper presents you with 40 things to know about Oktoberfest. Consider it your comprehensive guide to DAI’s Oktoberfests, past and present.
1 Oktoberfest is an international festival that features food and drinks from around the world, unique art and crafts and a variety of live entertainment inside and outside, including a traditional German band.
2 Oktoberfest is a three-day affair. It starts with a Preview Party Friday, September 23 (7-11 p.m.). The main event runs Saturday, September 24, from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday, September 25, from noon to 7 p.m.
3 Oktoberfest is held on the grounds of the Dayton Art Institute, located at Belmonte Park North and Riverview Avenue in Historic Grafton Hill.
4 Oktoberfest is a rain or shine event. The event features several tents, with covered awnings between some of the larger tents, in case of less-than-perfect weather.
5 Oktoberfest is run by volunteers. The Dayton Art Institute Associate Board, a group of dedicated museum volunteers, organizes Oktoberfest annually as a fundraiser to support DAI. All proceeds from the event benefit the Dayton Art Institute.
6 The Associate Board is made up of 64 members (32 couples). Members serve a four-year term, working their way through the ranks, serving on a host of committees that make Oktoberfest possible (as well as the Art Ball – the other DAI fundraiser the Associate Board organizes). This year’s chairs are Ben and Lindsay Johnson. Co-chairs (who will take the reins next year) are Brandice and John Nairus.
7 The Associate Board maintains a binder for the event each year, which is passed from chairperson to chairperson, year after year. The binder includes all of the do’s and don’ts, as well as reams of stories and historical information about Oktoberfests of the past.
8 In addition to the 64 Associate Board members, more than 2,000 volunteers help with the massive task of putting on the event.
9 The DAI staff also works overtime to make the event possible, especially Ed Zimmerman, the DAI Building Engineer. (On one of the first pages of the chairperson binder is this advice: “Buy Ed Zimmerman a cigar.” Ed is and has been a lynchpin in making this event happen year after year).
10 Associate Board members and other volunteers and staff are at the event for the entire duration, and then some. The Associate Board members literally leave the grounds only to sleep for six hours or so until the next day kicks off. It is a huge time commitment and the time commitment shows the intense dedication of the members. Look for Associate Board members wearing lanyards identifying themselves. If you are having a good time, be sure to thank them for their efforts.
11 Associate Board members gather at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning (following Preview Party) and Sunday morning (following a big Saturday night) to pick up trash. It takes all 64 members about three hours to clean up the grounds before they open again at 11 a.m.!
12 In previous years, the team has had to use gas powered leaf blowers to clean up all of the trash. And one year, the clean-up crew found a whip. No joke.
13 The goal of the first Oktoberfest, held in 1972, wasn’t so much about a fundraiser for the museum as it was about raising awareness of the museum and its collections. In the organizer’s own words, the goal was to “encourage the community to have a fun weekend at its museum, and have a chance to buy good art objects.”
14 Admission at the first Oktoberfest was $2 for adults and $.50 for children. Beers and brats were $.10 each. The museum reported $11,000 in ticket and beer sales and drew a crowd of 7,000 people.
15 Since its inception, the annual festival has drawn more than 850,000 people. The organizers of this year’s Oktoberfest expect between 25,000 and 30,000 attendees for the 40th anniversary. And the hard work of the volunteers pays off for the museum. Over the 40 years since the event began, the Associate Board has raised more than $4.5 million through Oktoberfest.
16 The event sponsors are also a huge part of making the event possible. This year’s presenting sponsor is MillerCoors. Steve R. Rauch, Inc is sponsoring Friday night’s Preview Party. Other supporting sponsors include Arrow Wine and Spirits, ClearChannel Radio, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Dayton City Paper, Grandview Hospital, Imperial Packaging Corp., Jeff Schmitt Autogroup, Liberty Savings Bank, MeadWestvaco and Time Warner Cable.
17 Miller has been a longtime sponsor of DAI’s Oktoberfest. In 1981, the brewery, about to open a facility in Trenton, Ohio, donated $20,000 to help fund the event.
18 The Preview Party is a “who’s who” of art patrons in the Miami Valley and each year, chairpersons try to up the ante. This year’s Preview Party features great international food from 30 vendors, a special craft beer cask tapping, complimentary domestic beer, German beer, wine and soft drinks, and live music by Velvet Crush. In addition, Preview Party members will be treated to giant pumpkin carving by Arctic Diamond Ice Sculpture. Preview Party guests also have the first opportunity to purchase handcrafted wares from 65 local and national artisans. The museum galleries will be open to Preview Party guests from 7 to 10 p.m.
19 Space is limited for the Preview Party and advance purchase of tickets is recommended. Advance tickets are $45 for museum members and $60 for non-members. All Preview Party tickets purchased at the gate are $80. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest, at the museum’s Visitor Services Desk during regular museum hours, or by calling (937) 512-0136.
20 When you come to the main event Saturday and Sunday, be sure to visit all of the various tents set up. There’s something for everyone, including beer, wine, food, bands, local artisans and kid-friendly spaces.
21 Beer geeks, rejoice. The beer list this year is extensive. See the full breakout for a comprehensive list of micros, macros and international brews.
22 Beer geeks, rejoice again! In addition to the beers listed, there will be two cask ales tapped at Oktoberfest. The first will be part of the Preview Party, while the second will be tapped early Saturday. We promised not to ruin the surprise as to which rare and interesting beers will be available, but trust me, from one beer geek to another, you won’t want to miss it.
23 Beer geeks rejoice, thrice! For the third consecutive year, Oktoberfest features a homebrew contest, highlighting some of the Miami Valley’s best home brewers. A panel of professional judges will be ranking the beers in four categories: Ales, India Pale Ale, Porter/Stout and German styles. In addition, entries will be judged on best labels. Winners in each style category will receive either an Oktoberfest Mug or a Glass Beer Boot.
24 Oenophiles, also rejoice! DAI’s Oktoberfest features an extensive wine list, with an added Weingarten this year (meaning two locations to fill your glass). Wines can be purchased by the glass or the bottle. See the full breakout for the complete listing.
25 Oenophiles, rejoice again! (And not just because we like saying, “oenophiles.”) There are several wine tasting flights throughout Saturday and Sunday’s main event at the Wiengarten. Saturday, taste the wines of the Northwest at 3 p.m., sweet wines of the Huber Winery at 5 p.m. and California reds and whites at 7 p.m. Sunday, enjoy an encore of wines of the Northwest at 3 p.m. and California reds and whites at 5 p.m. Prices per flight vary.
26 Don’t forget your collectible Oktoberfest beer stein. The designs change every year, as the incoming chairs set to work on the initial designs as early as a year in advance. Get one early — the mugs often run out by Sunday morning.
27The first DAI Oktoberfest mugs were sold in 1979. They were all made by hand, all 1,000 of them, and sold out within three hours. By 1984, the volunteers were celebrating the 10,000th sale of the handmade beer steins.
28 In the mid-70s, it wasn’t beer steins, but rather T-shirts that were designed and sold to raise funds for the museum. Local and regional celebrities, including none other than Woody Hayes, pitched in to create shirts for the museum’s auction. Rumor has it that Woody’s shirt simply said “COACH,” with his autograph. Imagine what that would fetch for the museum today!
29 Speaking of football, worried about missing your college football on Saturday or NFL games Sunday? Don’t be. The craft beer tent features four big-screen TVs to cover all of the action. This was such a hit last year that the chairs of this year’s event expanded the tent and coverage, so you can support the arts and your favorite team at the same time.
30 Hungry? Oktoberfest 2011 features a huge range of dining options, from traditional German fare to Asian, Greek, Caribbean, Lebanese and other ethnic specialties, as well as American fare. Many Midwest food concessionaires, Dayton-area caterers and service clubs will offer a wide variety of delicious foods. Included are brats and metts, barbecue (ribs, chicken, pork, brisket), pork chops, chicken, hot dogs, corn dogs, steakburgers, gyros, egg rolls, potato pancakes, sauerkraut and sauerkraut balls, fries, ice cream, cobblers and pastries, cookies, coffees and much more.
31 Love German music? The main stage and food tent each feature bands throughout the event. Hate German music? Don’t worry, it’s not all oompah and accordions. Check the full schedule to see the full mix of Germanic and contemporary sounds.
32 Bringing the kids? Be sure to check out the Meadwestvaco Familyfest area, which will feature a variety of fun and educational hands-on art activities. Fun for the whole family! Activity hours for the MeadWestvaco FamilyFest area are noon to 6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
33 German bands and local artisans have been a part of Oktoberfest since 1972. However, entertainment at the first Oktoberfest also featured a screening of a W.C. Field movie, shown inside the museum on a continuous loop throughout the event.
34 Bring your checkbook and take home some art of your own. The success of DAI’s Oktoberfest means local, regional and international artists who want to set up a display go through a juried selection process, with the Associate Board selecting the right mix of styles and wares. Look for new artists as well as popular favorites from previous years, as more than 50 artisans from around the world will be displaying pieces available for purchase including: paintings, prints, sculptures, photographic works, jewelry, pottery, metalworks, woodworking, fashion and accessories, and leather goods. Come support the Dayton Art Institute and take home a piece for your own collection.
35 Given the crowd and the extensive beer and wine selection, the organizers of Oktoberfest recommend taking the shuttle rather than trying to drive. Park for free at the Imperial Packaging Corporation parking lot, located about a half mile east of UD Arena on Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and take the free Oktoberfest shuttle directly to the event. Or, from downtown, catch an RTA bus along Main Street, Fifth Street or Second Street. There is no charge for the RTA bus ride.
36 Buy your tickets in advance and save. Advance tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s Oktoberfest are $5 for adults and seniors and $3 for students (ages 7-18). Tickets purchased at the gate are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for students. Children 6 years old and under are admitted free. Pick up tickets at the Dayton Art Institute or any of the following locations: Arrow Wine & Spirits (all locations); Dorothy Lane Market (all locations); Bee Gee’s Mini Mart; Dublin Pub; Boston Stoker (2nd Street location only); Logos @ Work; Culinary Company; Voltzy’s Root Beer Stand; and Cuvee Wine Bar & Cellar.
37 For more information about Oktoberfest, visit www.daytonartinstitute.org/oktoberfest or call the museum at 937-223-5277. Be sure to also join the Oktoberfest celebration on Facebook (facebook.com/daytonartinstitute) and Twitter (twitter.com/daytonart) for additional information, exclusive offers and updates from Oktoberfest. The Dayton Art Institute will post photos from past Oktoberfest celebrations on its website and Facebook page, and the community is invited to share its Oktoberfest memories on both the museum’s website and Facebook page. And on Twitter, search for #OktoberfestDayton to find the latest Oktoberfest information.
38 BEER LIST
Weihenstephaner Hefe; Old Speckled Hen; Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale; Stone Sublimely Self Righteous (new); La Trappe Quad (NEW); Leafmans Fruitesse (new); KWAK Belgian Special (new); Heather Froach; Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen Weisse (new); Hoppin Frog Boris the Crusher (new); Warsteiner; Grolsch; Red Stripe; Newcastle; Spaten Optimator; Franziskaner Dunkleweiss
Killian’s Red, Leinenkugel Oktoberfest, Blue Moon, Coors Banquet, Miller Lite
Spaten, Spaten Oktoberfest, Munchen Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe Weisse
Harpoon Oktoberfest; Harpoon IPA; Harpoon Leviathan (new); Shipyard Pumpkin (new); Left Hand Milk Stout (new); Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale; Great Lakes Brewing Company Oktoberfest; Great Lakes Brewing Company Nosferatu; Great Lakes Brewing Company Dortmunder Gold; Great Lakes Brewing Company Wright Pils (new)
Beer truck 3 will also offer Smirnoff Ice, Warsteiner N/A bottles, and a limited offering of Harpoon Cider. International Tent – Weihenstephaner Hefe; Old Speckled Hen; Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale; Stone Sublimely Self Righteous (new); La Trappe Quad (NEW); Leafmans Fruitesse (new); KWAK Belgian Special (new); Heather Froach; Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen Weisse (new); Hoppin Frog Boris the Crusher (new); Warsteiner; Grolsch; Red Stripe; Newcastle; Spaten Optimator; Franziskaner Dunkleweiss
39 WINE LIST
Ca’ Tullio Pinot Grigio; Chateau Lamothe Blanc; Starlight White; Linen Chardonnay; Rocche Costamagna Ose; Valckenberg Riesling; Graf Piesporter-Michelsberg Riesling
McManis Merlot; McManis Cabernet; McManis Zinfandel; Starlight Red; Penascal Shiraz; Wine By Joe Pinot Noir; Donna Laura ali Sangiovese; Mountain View Pinot Noir
Ca’ Tullio Prosecco
Specialty (bottles only)
Huber Winery Apple, Peach, or Blackberry wines
40 Entertainment Schedule
Friday, Sept. 23rd
Preview Party, Main Stage
8:00–11:00 pm Velvet Crush
Saturday, Sept. 24th
12:30–3:30 pm Chardon Polka Band
4:00–7:00 pm The Hathaways
8:00–11:00 pm 24/7
12:00–4:00 pm Vereins Musikanten
4:30–6:30 pm Oakwood Accordion Band
7:00–9:00 pm Sauerkraut German Band
Sunday, Sept. 25th
12:00–2:00 pm Kick N Flava
2:30–4:30 pm The Fries
5:00–7:00 pm This Side Up
1:30–3:30 pm Sauerkraut German Band
4:00–6:00 pm Dayton Jazz Ensemble