Your Guide to Nashville’s 40th Annual Oktoberfest

Music City transforms into a celebration of German culture and ritual with the commencement of Oktoberfest, with plenty of activities planned for tourists and locals alike


Photo by Emily Goncalves

Sarah Bellete

What better way to finally celebrate the start of fall than with pretzels and bratwurst in downtown Nashville?  Oktoberfest, a tradition that began in 1810, will be celebrated this weekend in Germantown on North and South Jefferson Street beginning Thursday evening, Oct. 10, and run until Oct. 13. 

Thursday’s events begin with a kick-off celebration at 5 p.m. featuring a performance from Tennessee State University’s drum corp as well as speeches from German historical figures, including Emperor Wilhelm the second. 

For the remainder of the weekend, the festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., closing at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Over 40 local vendors will be present, delivering tasty German staples such as brats, sausages, schnitzel, funnel cakes and German-crafted specialties. Family-friendly activities such as live performances, storytellings and face-painting will be available every day.

For those looking to go the extra mile this weekend, the festival will also host at least one signature event each day for participants at an additional cost. While costumes are not a requirement for admission, many festival-goers dress up in celebration of German culture. Check out a full schedule of this weekend’s events below:


Thursday, Oct. 10 

Celebration event to kick off Oktoberfest, featuring live performances and a warm welcome to the weekend.


Friday, Oct. 11

Bratwurst eating contest: $20 per participant, beginning at 7 p.m.. Winners earn the opportunity to be judges for next year’s contest. 


Saturday, Oct. 12

Oktoberfest 5k: Runners 21+ will receive the signature 20 oz. Oktoberfest beer after completion. Cost is $15 per participant and begins at 8 a.m.

 Oktoberfest Parade: Performances from three german Polka bands and a dog parade. Admission is free and the parade begins at 1 p.m.

Madsskrugstemmen: Competitors aim to hold a 3 lb glass of beer the longest. Begins at 4:30 p.m. with a final showdown at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $20 per participant.


Sunday, Oct. 13

Dachshund Derby: Attendees watch dachshunds race against each other on a 50 ft track, beginning at 3 p.m. Winners receive a special Oktoberfest medal.

Bratwurst eating contest:  The final event of the festival takes place at 7 p.m.