Go ahead and book your favorite Pigeon Forge cabin so you can be sure not to miss one of the Smokies’ favorite fall activities: OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg! This year marks the 9th annual OktOBERfest in the Smoky Mountains, and it all starts September 21, 2018.
If you’re already planning your annual trip to Pigeon Forge to see the fall foliage, then simply add OktOBERfest to your list of must-sees while you’re in town. For those who’ve never been, we’ll answer all your questions about the festival below—as well as fill you in on other must-see attractions at Ober Gatlinburg this fall.
FAQs about OktOBERfest
What is OktOBERfest?
Although OktOBERfest has been a Smoky Mountain tradition for the past seven years, it all really started more than 200 years ago in Munich, Germany. The traditional beer and Bavarian folk festival, started in Germany, runs for 16 days from mid to late September through the first weekend in October, and today, more than 6 million people from around the world still travel to Munich every year to attend.
But we have good news for our Pigeon Forge guests: you don’t have to travel all the way to Munich to enjoy traditional Bavarian food, festivities, and fun! OktOBERfest at Ober Gatlinburg continues the time-honored traditions of Germany’s festival right here in the Smokies.
What can I expect to find?
If you attend OktOBERfest this year (and we hope you will!), you’ll have a great time with friends and family while being immersed in Bavarian culture—from traditional cuisine and beer to outdoor games and folk songs. The returning performers for the Ober Gatlinburg OktOBERfest is the Bavarian Fun Makers Oompah Band. They’ll be dressed in authentic “lederhosen” while performing folk songs, oompah music, yodels, sing-a-longs, and more.
Along with traditional Bavarian-style entertainment, OktOBERfest gives you the chance to experience Bavarian-style cuisine. A few options on the menu include schnitzel, bratwurst, strudel, and German pretzels. But even if these don’t appeal to you, OktOBERfest offers a wide variety of eateries and menu options to fit any taste and budget.
Finally, the star of the festival—after all, Oktoberfest began as a traveling beer festival—is the Bavarian-style brew! Enjoy your German cuisine paired with a great selection of beer at the Outdoor Bier Garten, everyone’s favorite part of OktOBERfest. The Bier Garten is open every day for sampling, and a beer tent will be available for all festival attendees who are over 21.
When is it? How long does it last?
OktOBERfest follows its own schedule—beginning a few days after the worldwide celebration in Munich and ending well after visitors to Germany have made it back home. The dates for 2018 are September 21–October 28.
You’ll have plenty of time to plan your fall visit and experience the fun of OktOBERfest while you’re in town. The time frame of OktOBERfest is also the perfect time of year to view the fall foliage that the Smokies are famous for!
Who Can Attend?
Anyone and everyone! Although certain attractions at OktOBERfest, like the beer tent, are restricted to guests 21 and over, there are other activities that the whole family can enjoy. Check out the sing-a-long portion of the Bavarian Fun Makers’ performance or a sampling of an authentic turkey leg during the festival. And don’t forget that OktOBERfest is located inside Ober Gatlinburg, so the family-friendly attractions you’re used to seeing there will all be available during your OktOBERfest visit.
More About Ober Gatlinburg
Maybe you’ve never been to OktOBERfest or to Ober Gatlinburg. If so, we want you to know about a few of the fun attractions open at Ober all year long, and these will be especially fun during your fall foliage visit this October.
Aerial Tramway*—Get a bird’s eye view of the wide array of colorful trees on the Aerial Tramway at Ober Gatlinburg. Departing regularly from downtown Gatlinburg, this cable car has been operating since 1972 and remains one of the largest aerial tramways in the nation!
Ski Mountain Coaster—Catch the sights at a little faster speed on the Ski Mountain Coaster, nestled just below the peak of Mount Harrison in the Smokies. The ride lasts a little over 5 minutes and covers almost 4,000 feet of tree-studded terrain as you coast down the mountainside.
Scenic Chairlift—Ride to the top of the mountain on the classic Ober Gatlinburg attraction, the Scenic Chairlift. You can get your picture made at the top with the beautiful fall foliage in the background. This will be a moment you’ll treasure for decades to come!
Wildlife Encounter—With the weather cooling down, autumn is the perfect time to see animals at play, especially at attractions like the Wildlife Encounter at Ober Gatlinburg. Come see their black bear family, river otters, nocturnal house, and more during your visit this fall!
*Just for being a Pigeon Forge, TN Cabins guest, Ober Gatlinburg provides a discount to adults and children riding the Aerial Tramway. Ask our vacation planners for more information about this and other discounts offered by Pigeon Forge, TN Cabins partners in the Smokies.