It’s bock!

DAI’s Oktoberfest bigger and more local

By Tara Pettit
Photo: Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute, 1972

Dayton’s annual Oktoberfest has, since its inception in 1972, offered one weekend out of the year for Dayton to “taste the world” by bringing to the event an array of international craft beer and food offerings for the experimenter’s tasting pleasure. After all, part of the namesake of the event is an exploration of the international craft beer market—a dedication to celebrating a wide cultural range of libations all in the name of Volksfest.

Nothing has changed about the festival’s exploration of world cuisine and brews and it continues to celebrate those international selections by offering the same great brats, schnitzel sandwiches, Pilsners and Bocks. However, this year’s event, while remaining steeped in its traditional celebration of international drink, is bringing it all home by featuring more local craft beer and food offerings than ever before.

Oktoberfest 2015 will reflect a piece of what has surfaced in Dayton’s underlying movement towards “eat and drink local” by featuring several local favorite food vendors, as well as a few brews from one of Dayton’s own beloved microbreweries.

Festival chairs Russ and Quin Kline invited Dayton Beer Company, Dayton’s first established microbrewery after 50 years and voted Dayton’s Best Microbrewery in 2014, to the festival as their on-tap selection and featured local beer. They felt the microbrewery was a good choice and representative of the goals they are trying to achieve this year by driving home a community-oriented mission.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Dayton Beer Company this year,” Quin says. “We will definitely have several taps featuring their beers.”

DBC is rolling out a special beer just for the Oktoberfest this year, a festival gift that the planning committee is “so pumped about,” according to Russ.

The name of the beer will be released at the festival.

“We think this is so cool and we are so excited about it,” Quin says. “This will be a branded beer just for the Dayton Art Institute and its festival, which just drives the mission home.”

The special Oktoberfest beer is only one way this year’s associate board is incorporating more local aspects into the festival, while creating more community partnerships to further the event’s scope and reach in the Dayton area. This year, Oktoberfest will also partner with several local food vendors, including popular choices like Salar and The Original Pizza Factory, to add even more local flavor.

There will also be an even greater selection of wines and hard ciders.

“I think last year we had two ciders and this year we plan to have three or four,” Quin says, “because they are becoming more and more popular. There will also be a lot more specialty beer options, like the rootbeer beer and other ‘hard beers,’ for those who are not IPA fans. There will definitely be opportunity to taste a lot of different things.”

And food and drink are not the only aspects of the festival that are “going local.”

Part of the associate board’s goals for Oktoberfest 2015 is to ensure full and easy access to the festival by optimizing admission and reigniting locally focused goals from a variety of standpoints: transportation, multiple festival sub-events, and community support.

Easy Access

The festival has offered free shuttle services to and from the annual event for several years. However, this year the planning team has expanded the shuttle service by providing additional shuttle stop locations along Monument Avenue, Wilkinson Street, Second Street, Main Street and Fifth Street, as well as expanded the service to get people to and from the preview party and the added luncheon event.

RTA will provide free shuttle services to and from the Lederhosen Lunch from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, the Preview Party from 7 p.m.–11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, and for the festival itself from noon-11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 and noon-7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.

Also, presale ticket locations have been doubled for this year’s festival, making access to pre-admission at the discounted rate more widely distributed. Advance tickets can be purchased at Arrow Wine (both locations), Dayton Beer Company, Dorothy Lane Market, Bee-Gee’s Market, Chappys Tap Room & Grille, Dublin Pub, Ghostlight Coffee, The Little Store and Bruning’s Wine Cellar.

“We have been working really hard to make sure that no matter where anyone is or how they choose to get to the festival, that they do get there and have a good time,” Quin says. “That’s the first step to making this a great community involved event.”

Of course, this year’s event will again bring back the annual Preview Party, which has become a staple festival sub-event to kick off the weekend’s activities. The Preview Party will take place on Friday, Sept. 25 from 7-11 p.m. Each year the Preview Party kicks off the festival weekend with an exclusive evening for paying attendees to enjoy complimentary draft beer, wine and soft drinks with live music that will be performed by a popular Cincinnati party band, The Menus.

“It’s another great way to get more of the community involved in the weekend,” Quin says.

Community Support

Remaining at the core of Oktoberfest’s mission is rallying community support around Dayton’s world-renowned arts museum. The original intent of Oktoberfest in 1972 was to “encourage the community to have a fun weekend at its museum and have a chance to buy good art objects.” The organizers have kept this mission close to their hearts while coordinating the festival this year, inspired by the idea of drawing the community back again to celebrate the Dayton Art Institute as a key aspect of the city’s culture.

“It really is about getting everyone together and excited about being involved with their community, but also raising money for the art institute,” Quin says. “We really have to make sure it’s something we preserve because it’s such a cool thing in our community.”

This year’s festival will also bring back over 50 professional artisans, hand-selected from a juried process where the associate board chooses the most unique, highest quality and well-diversified pieces in order to offer the public the best of Dayton artisans’ work.

“We talk a lot in the associate board meetings about what Oktoberfest means and the traditions we want to uphold as more and more people are going to Oktoberfest for the art,” Russ says. “We want to continue to uphold that tradition and we want to continue to make sure there are really great offerings.”

This year’s festival once again incorporates the ACCO Brands FamilyFest, offering art activities for families to get involved in and giving attendees the chance to take a journey through the museum.

“We have really tried reaching into the community to communicate with as many people as we can,” Quin says. “We want people to know what we’re all about in order to participate in celebrating the Dayton community, local art, local food, local drink and local music.”

Between the couple thousand passionate volunteers, local business partnerships and over 20,000 mostly returning members of the community in support of Dayton Oktoberfest, this year’s festival will truly celebrate a Dayton that has emerged as a hub for specialty, hand-crafted food, drink and art.

Dayton Oktoberfest will be held Friday-Sunday, Sept. 25-27 at the Dayton Art Institute. The Lederhosen Lunch will be held on Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Admission to the luncheon is free with food and drink available for purchase. The festival kicks off with the Oktoberfest Preview Party from 7-11 p.m. Advance purchase of Oktoberfest Preview Party tickets is recommended. Advance tickets are $55 for museum members and $75 for non-members. Preview Party tickets purchased at the gate are $95. The festival will be held on Saturday from noon-11 p.m. and Sunday from noon-7 p.m. Advance general admission tickets for the festival are $5 adults and $3 seniors and youth (ages 7-18). Tickets purchased at the gate are $7 adults and $5 seniors and youth. Children 6 and under are admitted free. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 937.223.4ART. 
Reach DCP freelance writer Tara Pettit at

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