Oktoberfest Review - 2013 Glendale Heights Oktoberfest

2013 Glendale Heights Oktoberfest

September 12 - 22, 2013
101 East Fullerton Avenue, Glendale Heights, Illinois, United States Admission: $8

Overall: 98%
Authenticity:
Beer:
Food:
Entertainment:
Accessibility:

Food:
  • Pork Shank Dinner with sauerkraut and dumplings
  • Half Roasted Chicken Dinner with German potato salad
  • Schnitzel Sandwich with Grilled Onions on a German roll with potato salad
  • German Burger
  • German Bratwurst or Currywurst
  • Footlong Frankfurter on a German roll with mustard
  • Fried Sauerkraut Balls with Honey Mustard
  • Freshly Baked German Pretzel with Mustard
  • Homemade Bread Dumpling with Gravy
  • Homemade German Potato Salad
  • Homemade Bavarian Red Cabbage
  • Homemade Sauerkraut
Kids Menu:
  • Hamburger or Cheeseburger
  • Hot dog
  • Chicken Fingers
  • 6" Cheese Pizza
Beer:
  • Hofbräu Oktoberfest
  • Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss
  • Schofferfoffer Hefe Weiss
Wine:
  • German Red - Schlinkhaus Dornfelder
  • German White - Schlinkhaus Riesling
  • German White - Piesporter Spatlese
Other:
  • Draft Root Beer
  • Soda
  • Bottled Water

Entertainment:
  • Die Lustigen Musikanten - Alpine Thunder
  • Paloma
  • Euro Express
  • The Elmhurst College Jazz Band
  • Rare Dirndl Fashion Show
  • German Troop Dancers
  • Lake Villa Dancers Kids Group
  • Strong Arm Contest
  • Egerlander Tanz Gruppe


View Larger Map
Keg Tapping

As I expressed last year, the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest replicates almost everything you would expect to see in the tents in Munich and this year they went even further.

I had the luxury of being able to attend on Friday, September 13th and being able to join the opening parade and see the ceremonial keg tapping. Chef Wolfgang and crew put on an exceptional Oktoberfest. The tent is the same as last year but the arrangement this year is so much better. Upon walking into the tent you are greeted with a very Bavarian feeling. The ticket booth that sells the food and drink tickets has the look and feel of Bavaria. Looking right and left you see a number of booths that offer German and Oktoberfest items including clothing, hats, steins and more.

The ticket system they use is straight forward and it was great that they accepted credit and debit as well as cash. Each ticket is worth a dollar and can be used for food or drink. After purchasing tickets and leaving the ticket booth area you open up to the rest of the tent which is set up in a way that would make any Munich Oktoberfest host proud. The entire middle section of the tent is comprised of authentic Oktoberfest biergarten tables like you would use in Munich. The stage is on the far end of the tent and can be seen from every seat and there is even an outside biergarten area just outside the tent.

One quintessential part of Oktoberfest is drinking beer from a Maß and Glendale Heights Oktoberfest did one better than last year. This year they again offered the half liter glass as well as a real glass Hofbräu Maß. The beer prices were reasonable: $15 for a half liter of beer and the glass, $25 for a liter of beer and the Maß. Refills are $7 for a half liter and $14 for a full liter. If you opt to not buy a real glass, all beer was $7 for a 16 ounce plastic cup. If I were to recommend a change I would suggest refills on the half liter glass or Maß be a dollar off the regular price so as to entice the people to purchase the glassware. Depending on the day, beer can be purchased from as many as three different locations within the tent greatly reducing the amount of time you will spend in line waiting for a beer. In addition to the beer there is a dedicated wine bar and café.

Keg Tapping

The kitchen is easily recognizable on the right side of the tent and it is very easy to walk up and get food. They offer almost all the food you would expect to eat in Munich; soft pretzels and sausages to more traditional Oktoberfest items like roasted half chicken and the giant pork shank. They even had a kids menu to make it easier for parents.

For the true Oktoberfest experience I would recommend the VIP package. The first two rows of tables are reserved for VIP’s and included in the package is VIP parking, an admission voucher, a meal voucher which includes an appetizer plate and dinner, as well as vouchers for two drinks. Here you will receive full service from a dedicated server who will fulfill all of your food and drink needs. You will also enjoy your meal on real China plates with real silverware and proper glassware. The price for the VIP package varies $60 Sunday - Thursday, $80 Friday - Saturday. I visited the event two different days and experienced it both ways and I would truly recommend the VIP package.

One major change for this year was the event is no longer just one weekend but two weekends and the entire week in between. In addition to the longer event, they have also greatly improved on the entertainment which was really the only thing that I had a problem with last year. This year they are sticking with mostly German bands. The only exception is the Elmhurst Jazz Band that actually fits in quite well with the event since they had a set list of songs that you would hear in Munich.

This year I really have no problems with the event and, in all honesty, the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is probably my favorite Oktoberfest event in the Chicagoland area. It truly embodies all that is Oktoberfest and really brings me back to Munich.

Keg Tapping
Alpine Thunder
Keg Tapping
Stein Holding Competition
Keg Tapping
Alpine Thunder playing the bells
Keg Tapping
VIP Appetizer
Keg Tapping
VIP Dinner Plate


Ceremonial Keg Tapping


First Ein Prosit

Reviewed By: Scott Rzepka

Oktoberfest Review - 2013 Oktoberfest in August

2013 Oktoberfest in August

August 16 - 18, 2013
Schwaben Verein, 301 N. Weiland Road, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States Admission: $5

Overall: 84%
Authenticity:
Beer:
Food:
Entertainment:
Accessibility:

Food:
  • Leberkaese Dinner
  • Bratwurst or Thueringer Dinner
  • Leverkaese Sandwich
  • Bratwurst Sandwich
  • Thueringer Sandwich
  • Bismarck Herring on a Bun
  • Landjaeger Pair
  • Sauerkraut
  • Potato Salad
  • Pretzel
  • Hog Dog on a Bun
  • Cake
  • Coffee
Beer:
  • Spaten Premium Lager
  • Franziskaner Hefeweizen
  • Miller Lite
Wine:
  • White
  • Red

Entertainment:
  • The Fidelen Kircheimer
  • Alte Kameraden


View Larger Map
Full Band Oktoberfest in August kicked off the 2013 Oktoberfest season. The event is sponsored by the Schwaben Athletic Club, a German club that adds authenticity to the event. This Oktoberfest was held on the same grounds as last year and again with the same police presence to insure order. Parking was easy and free. Admission to the event was $5 and a quick ID check and you were in.

My friends and I arrived around 8:30p which was a little later than last year. This was because we spent the day at the Arlington Race Track watching horse racing (which was a regular occurrence at Oktoberfest from its beginning through 1960). Tent Overview Once inside the gates we looked around the venue a little bit. The big tent from last year was there as well as all of the seating on the inside and out. There was one main food tent and the beer and other beverages were found at the back of the big tent.

Prices for food and drink were the same as last year. We started out with a pitcher of Spaten Lager for $14. Everything is done by a ticket system where you buy tickets then exchange them for food and drink. It is a slight hassle but I understand why it is done and I have no problem with it. For dinner I had a Thüringer sandwich as well as a bratwurst sandwich. The Thüringer sandwich was good, on par with last year. The bratwurst was only ok. I would have expected a better tasting brat from a German club. The pretzel was only ok as well; it surprisingly lacked salt and was a little hard since it looked as if it were sitting out all day. The sauerkraut was good but the potato salad was lacking.

Traditional Dance Alte Kameraden performed last year and were again a delight. They are highly entertaining and they have very good crowd engagement. They did do the snake through the crowd which I was able to join in this year and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately for us, they were only on until 9:00p then they were followed by The Fidelen Kircheimer from Germany. Last year Suburban Cowboys finished off the night and I recommended in my post that they try and stick to a German-only entertainment lineup. This year it seems like they took my advice but I was sadly disappointed. The Fidelen Kircheimer was a traditional oompah band and I would have liked to hear more upbeat songs after 9:00p.

I don’t know if it is a result of the band but the crowd started to dwindle after 9:00p and my friends and I only stayed until about 10:00p. The event was very similar to last year which wasn’t bad but at the same time I didn’t see much improvement. The addition of The Fidelen Kircheimer was a good try but unfortunately they fell short.

I will still attend next year since Oktoberfest in August kicks off my Oktoberfest season but I will probably go in with less high hopes. This Oktoberfest is a decent event but I have a feeling they are set in their ways and don’t really want to change it up all that much. A more upbeat German band to close the night would be a great addition. Maybe they will surprise me next year.
Full Band

Reviewed By: Scott Rzepka

2013 Backyard Oktoberfest Event Schedule

Come share a Maß and talk Oktoberfest with the staff at Backyard Oktoberfest at the following events this year. We are always excited to meet others who enjoy Oktoberfest and we look forward to meeting you.


Oktoberfest in August
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Buffalo Grove, IL

Oktoberfest in Glendale Heights
Friday, September 13, 2013
Glendale Heights, IL

Oktoberfest at Wrigley Field
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Chicago, IL
Plano Oktoberfest
Friday, September 21, 2012 - 6:00pm
Downtown Plano, IL

Naper Settlement Oktoberfest
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Naperville, IL

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada