Oktoberfest in North Carolina

Oktoberfest is a festival that is held once a year, originating in Munich, Germany, in celebration of the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. At the time, the couple invited the entire city to celebrate with them. Citizens of all ages came and participated in the festivities, enjoying the spectacle of horse-racing and the drinking of beer (tailgating at its finest). Due to the sheer size and turn-out of the celebration, it became a tradition for many years to come. In the United States, cities all across America participate in Oktoberfest as well, celebrating their German ancestry through the drinking of beer, fine cuisine, rides, and games.

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In North Carolina, the tradition of Oktoberfest can be found in many major cities. Cities such as Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Asheville participate and celebrate in their own unique ways. Festivities such as these require not only extensive preparation and planning, but their success relies greatly on how well they can be marketed throughout their town, the surrounding areas, and even the state.

Raleigh, NC- Once a year in the Lafayette Village in Raleigh, the city celebrates its very own version of Oktoberfest with food, drink, games, and even a wiener dog race. This charitable event helps support local animal help groups and is a fun way to enjoy the afternoon. Usually held in the middle of September, the event relies heavily on word-of-mouth and community postings in order to market themselves to the local communities.

Charlotte, NC- Held every year in the beginning of September, the Charlotte Oktoberfest consists of games, locally and nationally craft beers, hearty German cuisine, and live music. The festival also supports various local charities, such as Charlotte Family Housing, RescuedMe, and On Eagle’s Wings. Being that the festival is a fairly large event, much of their marketing is done through sponsorship’s, social media, and word-of-mouth communication.

Wilmington, NC- Oktoberfest Under the Bridge is put together by Waterline Brewing Company in Wilmington, NC. Since this year (2017) was only their second year running the festival, they are still trying to get their event advertised throughout the New Hanover region. Relying much on traditional outlets such as word-of-mouth, social media, and bulletins/print postings, this event held at the end of September is sure to grow with an increasing number of breweries and events joining the celebration.

Asheville, NC- Being that Asheville has a unique culture unto itself, the Asheville Oktoberfest mixes German and mountain influences into one great celebration. Held in the beginning of October, this festival consists not only of the drinking of beer, but includes live music, a keg-rolling contest, and yodeling. Since this is more of an exclusive event (only 3,000 tickets sold) the festival can successfully advertise itself by not only relying on unique events at the festival, but also through the contents of the ticket packages sold. Likewise, they market themselves through various social media outlets and partnered sponsorship’s.

Festivals and celebrations are a great way to bring communities together and support local charities/organizations. Being that there are many moving parts to making a cities Oktoberfest the best it can be, it is important to advertise and promote effectively and efficiently. By choosing many different forms of media and communication outlets to market themselves, festivals such as these can ensure that their attendance and community awareness continue to grow each year.

-Matt Tripp-Cox