When Wunder Garten initially opened in late summer of 2015, in what was then a vacant spot next to the NoMa Metro stop, one of its first promotions was a weeks-long festival dedicated to German food and booze modeled and named after the European country’s world-famous Oktoberfest.
And among the lineup of Oktoberfest activities in its original makeshift space was a night geared to D.C.’s LGBTQ community.
Seven years later, Wunder Garten now bills its month-long German-inspired promotion as “the largest and most authentic Oktoberfest in the DMV.”
It’s also the venue’s largest event of the year. And this year’s 8th annual Oktoberfest, which runs over the next four weekends, is sponsored by one of Germany’s oldest breweries, Spaten Lager, in partnership with the German Embassy.
The NoMa beer garden kicks off Friday, Sept. 16, with the traditional “Tapping of the First Keg” by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, who will be accompanied by Maura Brophy, the president and CEO of the NoMa Business Improvement District.
The next day, Saturday, Sept. 17, ushers in the start of Pridetoberfest, in partnership with the Capital Pride Alliance, DCGFFL, DC Fray, Stonewall Kickball, and DC Front Runners, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
A second Pridetoberfest night is set for three weeks later, Thursday, Oct. 6, from 7 to 11 p.m.
Wunder Garten’s Oktoberfest will conclude Sunday, Oct. 9 with a Kick-the-Keg Party and select $5 pours of Oktoberfest beer starting at 5 p.m.
Throughout the festival, guests can enjoy beers on tap in the Märzen style hailing from Bavaria’s oldest breweries, including Spaten Franziskaner, Hofbrauhaus, and Paulaner, as well as the best Oktoberfest brews from local and regional breweries.
Oktoberfest beer tasting flights will also be available on Fridays and Saturdays, and guests will be able to purchase beers in one-liter steins. CaliBurger and La Buena Empanada, two mainstay food trucks on-site at the beer garden, will prepare German-style fare of sausages and giant pretzels to enhance the experience.
Guests are encouraged to wear traditional German garb, with those in Lederhosen or Dirndl getting one free beer on Fridays before 7 p.m., when traditional oompah bands will be playing. Saturdays will offer live bands in the afternoon followed by “Bavarian Olympics,” including stein-holding competitions and an array of prizes, and ending in a dance party.
Sunday afternoons offer more Bavarian Olympics, but festivities kick off at noon with a twist on Wunder Garten’s popular Sunday Yappy Hour they’re calling DOGtoberfest, with guests’ fur babies dressed up in their Oktoberfest best.
Wunder Garten is at 1101 First St. NE. Visit www.wundergartendc.com.
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