BERWYN – Raise your glass and celebrate fall at Berwyn’s 18th annual Oktoberfest on Sept. 14 and 15 in the Depot District.
The free, family friendly event features local vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, carnival rides, international food and, of course, a beer garden with seasonal Oktoberfest brews.
The festivities kick off at 6 p.m. Sept. 14 with live soul and rhythm and blues music from R-Gang, followed by 1980s and 90s cover band Wedding Banned. The fun continues at noon Sept. 15 with traditional polka music from Eddie Korosa Jr. and the Boys from Illinois, followed by Sails at 2 p.m., the Tom Petty and Johnny Cash tribute band Petty Cash at 4 p.m., Hello Weekend at 6 p.m. and the 1980s cover band 16 Candles at 8:30 p.m.
The family pavilion opens at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 15 with a performance by Istvan & His Imaginary Band, followed by traditional Mexican music and dancing, a martial arts demonstration by ATA of Lyons, a performance by the Peggy Rose Academy of Dance and a skate board demonstration.
In addition to the live entertainment, Culver’s mascot Scoopie, the Minions and McGruff the Crime Dog will all make appearances during the afternoon. Children also can get their faces painted, take a train ride, paint pumpkins and more in the pavilion.
Erika Corona-Owens, director of chamber services at the Berwyn Development Corp., which is sponsoring Oktoberfest, said the weekend is a great way for families to “transition” into fall.
“This kicks off the ‘back-to-school’ season, and it’s a great opportunity to showcase how our community comes together to celebrate,” she said. “We really like the event because it brings anyone who loves Berwyn back to the community and brings folks back who’ve moved away.”
While the live entertainment is sure to be a big draw, Oktoberfest is all about the food and beer. About 15 food vendors will line the north side of the train tracks with a variety of dishes, from traditional German selections to pizza. For the sixth year, Paisans Pizzeria will again sell slices, fries and wraps during the event.
“We love being a part of Berwyn. We love the people of Berwyn and love to support the city,” said Rob Pesci, director of operations at Paisans. “We’re an Italian restaurant, but we get to participate in a German fest, and it’s a fun, different kind of event.”
Loyola Medicine MacNeal Hospital, Oktoberfest’s main sponsor, has been involved with the event for many years, and hospital President Mary Elizabeth Cleary said it is committed to supporting the Berwyn community.
“This is our home, and sponsoring Berwyn’s Oktoberfest is a natural fit,” she said. “Many of our doctors and nurses live in the neighborhoods, and this is one way to all come together to celebrate life’s joyful moments.”
Corona-Owens said about 15,000 people visit the Depot District during Oktoberfest, which is a great way for the businesses to highlight what they have to offer.
“We have a few newer businesses in the Depot District and we tell them that folks flood this area, and it’s a good way for the community to see what the district has to offer,” she said.
If you go
WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. Sept. 14 and noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 15
WHERE: Depot District, Windsor and Grove avenues, Berwyn