Cowbells, Chicken Dances and Plenty of Bavarian Brew

Ala Moana Hotel’s 35th Annual Oktoberfest set for October 4-9

By: Dawna Robertson

Although it’s still summer, the crew at the Ala Moana Hotel is already making plans for one of its longest standing traditions. Each October, the property gets out the lederhosen and dirndl for Hawaii’s biggest and oldest Oktoberfest. This year’s festivities are slated for October 4-9 so there's still plenty of time to freshen up those chicken-dance moves.

Considered among Hawaii’s most anticipated annual cultural celebrations, Ala Moana’s Oktoberfest draws thousands of kamaaina (Hawaiian for residents) and visitors alike to enjoy the nearly 200-year-old Bavarian tradition. The event is highlighted with the familiar clamor of cowbells, polka, hearty sing-a-longs, flagons of beer and a menu of authentic German dishes.

“It’s really amazing how Oktoberfest at the Ala Moana Hotel has grown in size and popularity since we started this event three decades ago,” said John Cushnie, general manager of the property. “It started off as a gathering of a few hundred people and has grown into an event attended by thousands. It’s a fun event to attend while in Hawaii since it offers a different experience than the sun, sand and surf that have made our destination famous.”

Food stations abound with super-sized portions of German fare, including bratwurst, sauerbraten, giant knackwurst, pig knuckles, sauerkraut, potato salad, apple strudel and black forest layer cake. A hearty selection of German beers will also be available such as Ayinger Dunkel, Paulaner, Bitburger, Isenbeck, Becks, Spaten, St. Pauli Girl and Lowenbrau. For schnapps enthusiasts, a variety of German Schnapps Bude will include Barenjager, Goldwasser, Rumple Minze, Kleiner Feigling and Jagermeister.

The Ala Moana Hotel Oktoberfest runs Tuesday through Thursday from 6-11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 5-11 p.m. The official keg-tapping ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person on Sunday and weekdays and $8 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets may be purchased through the Ala Moana Hotel’s concierge beginning Sept. 1 or at the door nightly.