Some 40,000 people pass through the beer tents at Oktoberfest in Cape Coral — Photo courtesy of The German American Social Club, Cape Coral
The Fort Myers area is quite popular with German tourists and German Americans; perhaps this is one reason why the community is home to the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in the state.
In fact, organizers say it’s the second largest Oktoberfest event in the nation, with some 40,000 visitors over its 6-day run – and it's fun!
For the last 30 years, The German American Social Club (headquartered in Cape Coral) has lured thousands of people from across the state to this annual October party. In honor of their 30th anniversary, not one but two bands are being flown in from Germany to entertain the welcoming crowds.
Taking place two weekends in the middle of the month, in a somewhat remote location on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral, Oktoberfest invites party-goers to put on their lederhosens and come out in droves to do the chicken dance, eat brats, drink beer and enjoy a great celebration of German culture.
The music is nonstop, with authentic German bands and more — Photo courtesy of The German American Social Club, Cape Coral
The German American Social Club uses its 15-acre parcel of land to set up huge tents, three stages, two dance floors and a carnival area for the kids – big ones included.
With so much to do, it’s one of those celebrations where you could easily spend the entire day and perhaps even come back for more fun the next.
Oktoberfest is famous for its nonstop, live entertainment that includes the club's own band (Hafenkapelle), in addition to a brass band from Germany.
Dancers put on traditional shows, while folks who’ve spent a lot of time in the biergarten put on an entirely different kind of show on the dance floor.
Dancing is a big part of Oktoberfest festivities — Photo courtesy of The German American Social Club, Cape Coral
The biergarten is definitely a festival highlight, full of tables to enjoy both imported and domestic beers that go well with the tasty, aromatic food served at the festival. Vendors prepare traditional items such as potato pancakes, sausage, bratwurst, schweinhaxen, leberkaese and more.
You can also enjoy a sit-down dinner in the Von Steuben Hall, where favorites like schnitzel, dumplings, cabbage and sauerbraten are served.
If German food, the names of which you may not be able to pronounce, is out of your comfort zone, then don’t fret. Typical American fare is also sold on-site.
Bratwurst is a big hit, along with other traditional German cuisine — Photo courtesy of The German American Social Club, Cape Coral
While consuming copious amounts of beer may often be associated with Oktoberfest, this event also highlights fine German wines and spirits.
And besides shopping for arts and crafts from the vendors, you can also win some amazing prizes that include trips to the motherland: Germany.
Over the last 30 years, The German American Social Club has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities, courtesy of the fun had by all during Oktoberfest.
Admission is only $6 at the door. Kids under 12 are free, and so is the parking. You’ll also need to buy tickets for food purchases around the fair grounds.
The 2015 dates for Oktoberfest Cape Coral run from Oct. 16 to 18 and Oct. 23 to 25, rain or shine.
Opening ceremonies include the traditional 'tapping' of the first keg — Photo courtesy of The German American Social Club, Cape Coral