Rochester Mills Beer Co. expands annual Oktoberfest celebration

Fall festival welcomes new carnival, adds days, extends hours

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 17, 2013

ROCHESTER — To celebrate the arrival of fall, Rochester Mills Beer Co. invites the community to its annual Oktoberfest celebration.

“It truly is fall once Oktoberfest rolls in,” said David Youngman, marketing director for Rochester Mills Beer Co.

Designed to entertain the entire family, the 15th annual fall festival is one of the biggest in Michigan, and Youngman said this year’s event will be even bigger, since organizers added days, extended the hours and partnered with the Rochester Hills Lions Club for the event’s first full carnival at the corner of Third and Water streets.

“It’s going to be the biggest Oktoberfest we’ve ever done,” Youngman said.

The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, with a ceremonial tapping of the Rochester Mills Oktoberfest Seasonal Celebration Lager in the tent outside. The festival runs 4-11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, in the restaurant’s parking lot, 400 Water St., under a huge tent. Admission is $5 for adults, and children 16 and younger get in free with a paid adult.

The event, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit and the YMCA North Oakland County Waves Swim Club, will be held rain or shine. Volunteers from each charity will be on hand helping at the concession stands and in the kids area during this year’s event.

According to Youngman, the festival is a great way to celebrate the beginning of fall with friends and family while enjoying live music, Bavarian dancing, carnival games, moonwalks, a climbing wall, pony rides, a petting zoo, clowns, temporary-tattoo artists and more.

“We’ve tried to make this as family-friendly as possible,” Youngman said.

The carnival, run by the Rochester Hills Lions Club Sept. 26-29, is a first this year and will be set up directly adjacent to the outdoor Oktoberfest area, offering more activities for all ages. The carnival will be similar to the group’s spring carnival, held in the large parking lot at Rochester and Avon roads, to benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind, Bear Lake Camp, Penrickton Center for Blind Children and Project Kidsight.

“We’re taking everything that we do in the Kmart parking lot and putting it right next to the Rochester Mills Beer Co.,” said Walter Kulesza, vice president of the Rochester Hills Lions Club. “We’re really excited.”

Along with the typical carnival attractions, there will be a free vision screening for preschool children provided by the Lions District 11-A2 Project Kidsight on both Saturday and Sunday on carnival grounds.

The Mills is expecting thousands of people to come through its tent over the course of the festival, which also features local craft beer and authentic German cuisine, including bratwurst, sauerkraut, smoked sausage, potato pancakes, bean and sausage soup, and handmade apple strudel. Those with a healthy appetite can enter the ever-popular sauerkraut and bratwurst eating contests; there’s also a stein hoisting competition.

People 21 and older who obtain a wristband to purchase alcohol by showing their ID can drop by the tent for a taste of brewer Forrest Knapp’s Germanstyle hefeweizen, called Water Street Wheat; a Michigan-style light beer, called the Lazy Daze Lite; or the 2013 Oktoberfest Germanstyle lager. As in years past, avid beer stein collectors can snap up a Munich Oktoberfest beer stein, a 1-liter ceramic mug, during the event.

A full menu and selection of beer on tap will be available inside the brewery, along with free entertainment at 10 p.m. by Under the Covers on Friday and The Remedy on Saturday. The Vagabonds and Enzian will give performances nightly under the tent outside. The Carpathia dancers will perform Friday and Saturday night.

For more information, call (248) 650-5080 or visit