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Raise a Glass to Germantown’s Oktoberfest!

Going back to its origins in Munich, Germany 200 years ago, Oktoberfest has been known to be a rather wildly festive event celebrated with accordians, brass bands, singing, dancing and free-flowing beer.

Nashville’s historic Germantown district does share the same German heritage, but Oktoberfest here is more of a cultural, family-friendly festival, where pooches dress for their very own parade and the organ grinder stops to chat with wide-eyed kids.

Every October this quaint district serves up German hospitality in rollicking style. Die Musik Meisters don their leather breeches and alpine hats ready for a little yodeling and mountain music and the crowd gathers.

Saturday, October 13 will be the 33rd Nashville Oktoberfest and from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. the district will reverberate with its unique brand of traditional German revelry. The Germantown street festival encompasses a six-block area between the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall/Farmer’s Market and Taylor Street, and between Fifth Avenue North and Rosa L. Parks Boulevard.

The two historic churches on Seventh Avenue North and Monroe Street ~Assumption Catholic Church and Monroe Street United Methodist Church ~ are the hub of the day’s activities. Just look for the tall steeple. Proceeds from the event go toward their continued restoration and for neighborhood improvement projects. Plenty of free parking is available beside the festival site, at the Farmer’s Market and Bicentennial Mall.

Oktoberfest is Nashville’s longest running cultural festival. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of traditional German food and beverages, plus a variety of specialty foods and home baked goods. It’s a good thing the 5K Annual Bier Run starts early at 8:00 a.m. before runners get weighed down with all that rich food and ample supply of beverages!

The 5K run kicks off festivities as runners sprint through the Bicentennial Mall, Farmers Market and the streets of Germantown. The festival officially begins at 9:00 a.m. and will feature 18 performing groups on three stages. After the opening ceremony, community wide worship services will be held at both the historic sponsoring churches.

The kids will all want to gravitate to Funland, a free children’s activity area featuring games, pony rides, face painting, clowns, and Conductor Jack and his Musical Review. Enjoy wandering past arts, crafts, antique and specialty booths.

Make sure you pick up one of the beautifully etched 24 oz. 2012 Nashville Oktoberfest Collector Mugs while they last, and get it filled with your favorite Oktoberfest “brew” in the Beer Garden.

And don’t miss the annual Pooch Parade at 1:00 p.m. Naked and fancy dressed pups proudly strut their stuff down 5th Avenue led by their Grand Marshall, vying for awards in various categories.

If you’d like to explore a little further afield, Historic Germantown actually encompasses an 18 square block area that was Nashville’s first residential subdivision, created in 1830 on a land grant awarded to James McGavock for his service in the Revolutionary War. It is a fascinating mix of architecture, proudly preserved in this thriving neighborhood.

There’s a good chance you’ll be having so much fun at the festival you’ll want to come back another day to take in the other sights. If Oktoberfest whets your appetite for more authentic German food, there’s always Nashville’s famous Gerst Haus on Woodland Street to visit next!

Hi! I’m Dayle Fergusson. As a transplanted Aussie living in Middle Tennessee since 1986, I have been a freelance travel...Read on



    Claude Reese

    Seems like there is always something going on in middle TN that people can enjoy. This sounds great. Since I’ve been gone from there 61 years I did not know sugh a place existed. I think I want to visit Germantown the next time I come up. I expect your excellent article will make a lot of others want to visit, too!


    Lia Sandgren

    Fabulous pictures and great and detailed information Thanks for a lovely article !

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