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september, 2021

This is a repeating event

fri24sep2:00 pmOktoberfestHessen Haus and surrounding area

Event Details

Raise a stein to another sign of life returning to downtown Des Moines: Oktoberfest will be back Sept. 24 and 25, rain or shine, for its pandemic-delayed 17th year.

The gemütlich celebration of German culture will occur alongside Hessen Haus — Des Moines’ German restaurant and bier hall — on Fourth Street south of Court Avenue and Market Street between Third and Fourth Streets, the Festival Plaza of the Science Center of Iowa.

The official Tapping of the Golden Keg is set for 3 p.m. Sept. 24 and will feature a vast group toast and free beer on a first-come, first-served basis.

There also will be live music, German food, beer gardens, contests, games and more.

Oktoberfest, of course, is all about the beer. It will feature a Craft Beer Village with German beers and American craft brews. Bars will have signature cocktails and the traditional Dr. McGillacuddy’s Schnappski. The Lederhosen Lounge will offer 2-liter glass boots of beer for the especially Thursday.

Attendees dressed in German attire will be eligible to win free beer tickets throughout the festival and participate in the bier maiden and stein holding (mässkrugstemmen) competitions.

Discounted advance tickets are on sale now (search Des Moines Oktoberfest and Eventbrite online) and will be available at the door for $15 each day. In addition, Des Moines area Hy-Vee stores will begin selling tickets Aug.15.

Each ticket includes a complimentary drink ticket and a commemorative pint glass. Those who hold on to their wristbands and bring their glass back on the second day of the festival will get $10 discounted entry.

Guest under 21 will be allowed until 8 p.m. each day, after which attendance will be limited to those 21 and older.

Entertainers will appear on two stages. The Leinenkugel’s Main Stage will showcase polka acts and Des Moines’ Pianopalooza, performing in polka mode as Friday’s headliner.

The Silent Disco DSM Stage opens at 8 p.m. both nights and is located on the science center’s Festival Plaza. Audience members can catch 12 local DJs live-mixing and participate in a silent disco wearing wireless headsets.

Other entertainment includes:

Polka lessons and demonstrations by the Polka Club of Iowa from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 24.
A German-inspired menu by prepared by Smokey D’s BBQ and Mediterranean Express, including bratwurst-based nachos and gyros.
Gluten-free cider at every bar on the festival grounds and gluten-free beer at Hessen Haus.
German carnival games.
A braid bar with a braiding specialist to create styles including Heidi braid crowns.
For more information, visit


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