More than 200 years have passed since the citizens of Munich, Germany, attended festivities in celebration of the 1810 marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the events, and it was the decision to repeat the races every year that gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.
It’s now become the world’s largest beer festival held annually from mid- to late-September until the first Sunday in October. It takes place on huge festival grounds with roller coasters and carousels.
“It’s like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, only bigger and German-themed,” said Philipp Sitter, president of King’s Group, which owns King’s BierHaus, 2044 E. T.C. Jester Blvd.
With Houstonians’ love of cultural festivals, Sitter said throwing an Oktoberfest bash at the King’s locations was a natural step. Every October, King’s Biergarten in Pearland, and King’s BierHaus host a three-day extravaganza. This year, Oktoberfest in the Heights will be celebrated from Oct. 18-20.
“We have Oktoberfest-style food, German music and a lot of our events in the festival are themed after the original in Germany,” Sitter said. “We are especially proud of the beer we carry, all the major Munich brands, over 12 German beers to choose from.”
Beer is essential in the Oktoberfest experience. During the Oktoberfest in Germany in 2017, consumers drank 7.5 million liters of beer.
King’s Oktoberfest is on a much smaller scale than the original, but Sitter has a tip for anyone who envisions themselves in Germany for it one day.
“Make sure to contact a travel agency, that way you can get ‘Oktoberfest Tent’ reservations,” Sitter said.
Because Oktoberfest is packed all day, and many of the tables inside the tents are reserved, you might not have a place to sit unless you make a reservation.
While every year King’s Oktoberfest features a ceremonial keg tapping, a Bavarian strongman competition, “bier” pong tournament, live music and carnival games, this year a few new festivities have been added to the mix.
The biggest is a giveaway of an all-inclusive trip for two to Oktoberfest 2020 in Munich. That would take care of the flights, hotel accommodations, tent reservations and a personal tour guide.
They also are putting on a fun run in which participants are encouraged to dress in German costumes, a Sunday funday of kid-friendly activities like a petting zoo, face painting, bounce houses and moonwalks, a dog costume contest and a bratwurst-eating contest. Also, this year a king and queen of Oktoberfest will be crowned as best formally dressed.
Houstonians’ willingness to go all out with costumes, participate in brat-eating contests and to just have a good time partying is Sitter’s favorite thing about the event.
Tickets are now on sale at https://www.kingsoktoberfest.com/. General admission starts at $12, and the VIP ticket range is $55-$99. VIP tickets include a red carpet entrance, private dining, a three-course meal, all-inclusive beer and wine, access to VIP lines on festival grounds and more.