Oktoberfest in the Lou

How Saint Louisians can celebrate German culture


Courtesy of Richard Schodl

This banner comes from Germany and is authentic.

Oktoberfest began a staggering 209 years ago in Munich, Germany to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese. Trickling down through immigration, St. Louis celebrates this festival yearly because of the large population of Germans in many different ways. 

The colors of the festival, blue and white, are the colors of the Bavarian flag. The traditional dress for the festival includes old German clothing items including Lederhosen for men (translated: leather pants), possibly accompanied by a tyrolean hat, which is Swiss,  and a dirndl, the dress that women wear. Although many of the events happen during the last week of September, a variety of German establishments have festivities that lasts through the whole month of October. 

          One way to participate is through the german grocer Aldi. The store sells  a variety of German food including schnitzel (a flattened piece of meat, breaded and fried), bavarian style pretzels, Spätzle (egg noodles that are traditionally served with cheese sauce and fried onion, similar to mac and cheese), sauerkraut, and sweet confections.

          Located just outside of Saint Louis, the Hofbräuhaus offers good selection of not only german food, but specifically Bavarian-German food. This includes pretzels, pork roasts, potato pancakes, many different sausages, and many more dishes served with gravy and potato dumplings. The Hofbräuhaus originated in Munich, Germany, first built in the 16th century, but the public was not allowed in until 1828. The Saint Louis location and most others try to replicate the feeling of the original location, in order to make the customers feel like they could walk out with the feeling that they were in Bavaria. 123 St. Eugene Drive, Belleville, IL 62223

Built in the Dutchtown neighborhood of Saint Louis, The Feasting Fox was originally built in 1913 by Anheuser-Busch in order to have a respectable family eatery. The restaurant resembles an old Bavarian style building, with exposed wood beams, turret, and intricate woodwork. They offer traditional german foods such as Schnitzel, Bavarian pretzels, roasts, and potato pancakes. 4200 S Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO

       Having existed not only as a restaurant but also an inn, Schneithorst’s offers a small variety of Bavarian food, with the ambiance to match. In addition the bavarian fair, they also have more traditional dishes if someone does not have the lust to try german food. Unlike The Feasting Fox, Scheithorst’s also has a small selection of G&W sausages, which are prepared the Bavarian way. 1600 S Lindbergh Blvd, St. Louis, MO

A small piece of Germany exists in Missouri, called Hermann, located just over an hour away. Back in the 1830s and 40s, German Immigrants settled in Hermann because it reminded them of the hills of the Rhein Valley. The buildings and cobblestone streets resemble that of small villages in Germany as well. Oktoberfest is celebrated every weekend in October here, many of the restaurants have special performances and authentic German food. The city offers a fun day trip prospective for those looking to get away, but only a short distance away. Located in the city is the Deutschheim Site, where information on the pilgrimage of Germans to Hermann is displayed. The site includes displays of preserved homes with original tools, and stories of how they lived day to day. Hermann, MO