Octoberfest in Hays, KS, began in 1972 when Fort Hays State University, the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce, and several locals with German heritage came together to put on this community event. Organizers wanted to mimic the Munich Octoberfest which is where Octoberfest originated. Octoberfest in Hays, KS is always a busy time. In addition to all the Octoberfest activities, the event is also held on the same weekend as Fort Hays State University's Homecoming.
For anyone who grew up, or lived in Hays, KS, for any length of time, you know that Octoberfest weekend is a huge weekend for the entire community. It is when the rich history of the area is celebrated and many traditions are shared with all who attend. I can remember going when I was younger with my parents, and then coming back while in college with my friends for this weekend.
This two-day event will host thousands of community members, FHSU Alumni, extended family, and friends. Attendees will find traditional food, a German market, music, family-friendly events, and of course, there will be beer!
A variety of vendors will be at Octoberfest on Friday and Saturday! You can find a list of vendors and updates by following the Octoberfest Hays Facebook page here or on their Instagram here! There will be a variety of Jewelry, apparel, cookbooks, a commemorative stein, food, and more!
Octoberfest will kick things off on Friday, September 29th, 2023, with an opening ceremony and the tapping of the kegs at 11 a.m. It wouldn't be an Octoberfest without a Stein holding a competition, so if you are game then enter yourself in the Stein Holding Contest and get there in plenty of time, because that event is held at 2 pm.
If Stein Holding isn't your thing, then stick around for the Deutsch Hops Contest at 4 p.m. or the OctoberFEAST contest at 5 p.m. Since Octoberfest is held in the park off of Main Street in Hays, KS, make sure you get your spot for the Hays High Homecoming parade that begins at 5 p.m. Yes, you read that correctly. While Octoberfest in Hays, KS is held on the same weekend as FHSU Homecoming, sometimes, like this year, it also falls on the same weekend as Hays High Homecoming!
Saturday morning Octoberfest kicks off at 10 am and then the Fort Hays State Homecoming parade begins at 11 am. At noon, attendees can see the "World's Largest Bierock" and for those who entered, the cornhole tournament begins. Enjoy more live music, games, and fun throughout the day until the festivities end at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Just in time for everyone to head over to Lewis Field to cheer on the Tigers in the Homecoming game that starts at 7 pm.
The Volga German Centennial Association works tirelessly to preserve and share our area's rich Volga German history and I hope you all enjoy attending Octoberfest in Hays as much as I do!