Question: Why is Oktoberfest in September?
Throughout the month of September, Oktoberfest celebrations are scattered across Sierra Vista by the city and different organizations for weekends full of fun. The name of the festival and the timing of the activities don’t seem to line up, but there is a method to the madness.
Cal Downey, founder of the Diamond Oak Brewing Cooperative, explained the origins of Oktoberfest stem from a wedding celebration in Munich, Germany, after Kronprinz Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen tied the knot on Oct. 12, 1810.
“During the reception, there were horse races, a parade, spectacles, and celebrations,” Downey wrote in an email to the Herald/Review. “In 1811, the decision to repeat these initial events, launched what is now the annual Oktoberfest tradition. Since then, elements of the original reception, in which all residents of Munich were invited, have been included or removed.”
Since 1811 there have only been 24 years in which there hasn’t been an Oktoberfest in Munich. War or pestilence are the reasons the event wasn’t held.
“Over time, the event moved earlier in the calendar to support other agricultural needs and festivals,” Downey wrote. “Inspired by the Zappas Olympics in 1896, which became in the modern Olympic Games, the Oktoberfest was lengthened and the date pushed forward because days are longer and warmer at the end of September.”
“For almost a century, the Munich Oktoberfest took place in the 16-day period leading up to the first Sunday in October. In 1994, this longstanding schedule was modified in response to German reunification. Since then, Munich Oktoberfest now runs for 17 days when the first Sunday is Oct. 2 and 18 days when it is Oct. 1.”
The City of Sierra Vista is the first to host a local Oktoberfest, this weekend at Veterans Memorial Park. Adam Curtis, public information officer for the City of Sierra Vista, said the reason the city has their event early in the month is because of the other events.
“Fall is a busy season in Sierra Vista and throughout Cochise County,” Curtis wrote in a statement to the Herald/Review.
There are events every weekend in the city and county for the remainder of the month, including the Sister Cities & Diamond Oak Brewing Cooperative OAKtoberfest on Sept. 21.