There’s only one place you want to be when Oktoberfest rolls around each year, and that’s Helen, Georgia, just 1.5 hours north of Atlanta. Helen’s Oktoberfest festivities have been happening for over 50 years, making it the longest-running Oktoberfest in the country!
There’s no better time to book your Helen vacation home than in October when the town pulls out all of the stops for its annual Oktoberfest celebration. From September to October, you’ll find traditional polka dancing, German beer, parades, and endless amounts of German food on every corner of Alpine Helen.
If it’s your first time experiencing Oktoberfest, our guide will give you all of the details to make the most out of your Oktoberfest celebration.
About the Oktoberfest Tradition in Helen
Photo Credit: Kristi Blokhin
The original Oktoberfest took place in 1810 in Munich, Germany, a city in the Bavarian region of Germany. King Ludwig I and Princess Therese had just celebrated their royal wedding with a two-week event, and the citizens of Munich decided to make it an annual celebration the following year. For the last few weeks of September, the people of Bavaria came together for horse racing, games, food, and German beer.
The little town of Helen was transformed into a German oasis in 1969 to revitalize the dying Blue Ridge town. The following year, Helen held its first annual Oktoberfest, the rest being history. Every year, thousands of people visit Helen during September and October to mark this annual tradition. Today, Helen is one of the best destinations to celebrate Oktoberfest in the United States.
Helen Oktoberfest 2023
Photo Credit: Kristi Blokhin
- When: September 7 to October 29, 2023
- Location: 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA
- Website: helenchamber.com/oktoberfest
- Tickets: Admissions are $10 during the week and $12 on weekends for adults. Sundays are always free! Kids under six and active and retired military get in free.
The 53rd annual Oktoberfest parade marks the beginning of the festivities on Saturday, September 9th, in Downtown Helen. The parade begins at noon, followed by the Tapping of the Keg ceremony, which officially opens the celebration per German tradition.
The festivities take place at Helen Festhalle, right in the center of the town. Events run from Thursday to Sunday during the month of September and daily from September 28 to October 29, 2023.
The 2023 Helen Oktoberfest Musical Line Up
Helen Festhalle features live music each day of Oktoberfest. The Alpine Helen Chamber of Commerce has announced the following line-up of bands for Oktoberfest 2023:
September 7 - 10, 2023
September 14 - 17
Martin Gross und sein Sonnenschein Express
September 21 – 24
Sept 28 – Oct 1
October 2 – 8
Squeeze Box featuring Ted Lange & Mollie B.
October 9 – 15
Alex Meixner Band
October 16 – 22
Pech & Schwefel
October 23 – Oct 29
When to Visit During Oktoberfest
Be sure to visit the very first weekend if you want to be part of the opening celebrations of Oktoberfest. The first Saturday marks the beginning of Oktoberfest festivities, starting with the Oktoberfest Parade at noon. Tapping of the Keg occurs immediately after, officially opening the celebration for the following weeks.
Once the opening weekend takes place, you can expect the town of Helen to celebrate for the next two months! During September, Helen Festhalle is open from Thursday through Sunday. You’ll get to partake in keg tapping if you attend any of the first five Saturdays of Oktoberfest. If you want to save money, Sunday is a great day to go, as admission is always free on the last day of the weekend.
Once October hits, there are Oktoberfest celebrations every day of the week! The weekends tend to get crowded, so plan on visiting during the weekdays if you prefer less crowds. October is a great time to visit the North Georgia mountains, as the fall colors are on full display everywhere you look.
What to Do in Helen for Oktoberfest
Whether you are here for the food, beer, dancing, or overall entertainment - there’s a little something for everyone at Helen Oktoberfest. Below are our favorite activities to enjoy during the festivities.
Drink German Beer
Photo Credit: katjen
It’s no secret that Oktoberfest is known for its delicious array of German brews.
The best way to get the full experience is through the infamous Keg Tapping events, held the first five Saturdays of Oktoberfest. Keg tapping is a German tradition that involves bar hopping to various taverns and restaurants to drink from the freshly-tapped keg. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to try a light Munich beer called Dunkel and its darker counterpart, Schwarzbier.
If you miss the Keg Tapping occasion, don’t fret! Most taverns in Helen participate in Oktoberfest all season long so that you can pop into any local pub for a taste of delicious German brews.
Enjoy Live Music
Photo Credit: USAG- Humphreys via Flickr CC2.0
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when it comes to Oktoberfest, it’s that dancing is a must! The Helen Festhalle hosts a rotation of authentic German bands, inviting partakers to sing and dance along to their favorite German music. On any given day, you’ll find men dressed in traditional lederhosen and women in dirndls dancing the polka on the dance floor.
If you’re lucky, you might spot a crowd enjoying the chicken dance as they cheers to another successful day at Oktoberfest.
Eat Delicious German Food
Photo Credit: Steve Grundy via Flickr CC2.0
Looking to try traditional bratwurst, sauerkraut, or red cabbage? You’ve come to the right place. No matter when you visit Helen Oktoberfest, you can expect delicious German fare on every corner.
Head to Hofer’s Biergarten patio, where you’ll get a fantastic view of Helen while enjoying traditional German pastries for breakfast. For lunch, there’s nowhere like Troll Tavern, where you can get a wurst platter to share while you look out onto the Chattahoochee River. A few other favorites include Heidelberg, Hofbrauhaus, and Old Bavaria Inn Restaurant.
What to Know Before You Go
What do I wear to Oktoberfest?
There is no official dress code when it comes to attending Oktoberfest. If you prefer to wear German clothing, you will find many attendants in the traditional lederhosen and dirndls. You are welcome to wear your normal clothing if that is your preference.
No matter what you choose to wear, we recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes for exploring Alpine Helen!
Can I bring my pet?
No pets are allowed in the Helen Festhalle, so make sure to leave your furry friends at home for this event.
Where should I park?
There is public parking along Chattahoochee Strasse and Edelweiss Strasse, near the Helen Festhalle.
What if it rains?
Helen Festhalle is an indoor venue, so Oktoberfest will happen rain or shine!
Yes! Alpine Helen-White County is full of one-of-a-kind experiences. While you’re staying in Helen, be sure to visit Unicoi State Park for hiking, biking, and fishing on Unicoi Lake! You can also enjoy one of the many local wineries nearby, including Yonah Mountain Vineyards. Finally, Anna Ruby Falls is a popular waterfall destination nearby.
Enjoy Your Helen Oktoberfest Getaway
We can promise you this: there is nothing quite like Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia. From the delicious German grub to the traditional live music and dancing, you’ll get a true taste of Bavarian culture at every turn. Plan ahead and book your Blue Creek Cabin today!