While family-oriented Halloween fun abounds in Ocean City every year with OCtoberfest, the neighboring town of Berlin has its own festive fun. Berlin’s Oktoberfest is a full day of shopping, food, music and games on Main Street in the spirit of Oktober. This year, the festival will take place noon- 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. Read on, because while Oktoberfest has been a tradition in Berlin (Maryland’s Berlin, that is) since 2011, there’s always something new. See photos from Oktoberfests of years past below.
Things to do
Berlin’s Oktoberfest is just a bit different from the famous volksfest in Munich, Germany–there’s still beer here, just not on the scale of the festival’s German counterpart. (Oktoberfest fun fact: almost 8 million liters of beer are served annually over the duration of Germany’s 16-day festival.)
Berlin’s version of the festival places more of an emphasis on fun autumn activities that the whole family can enjoy.
Eat like a local
Food is one of the most important aspects of anyone’s Oktoberfest, and while you might not always find bratwurst and sauerkraut in downtown Berlin, brats n’ burgers do make a special appearance one day out of the year
Restaurants and cafes including Baked Dessert, Gilbert’s Provisions, Crush and Crab and Eastern Shore Kettle Korn provide sweet and savory snacks so that you can taste whatever you’re craving, German dish or otherwise.
Shop for the season
Downtown Berlin’s shops and galleries set up tables outside for the annual Fall Sidewalk Sale, where books, bags, jewelry, clothes, handmade items and more are all on display.
Enjoy a drink and a stroll
The best part of any festival is usually just walking around and people-watching. Here, you can take a slow walk around and soak in all of Berlin’s charm while sipping on a beer from Burley Oak, and you can expect to hear live music in the distance while you do it.
There’s also, thankfully, tons of stuff to do that will keep the kids occupied. Like most street fairs, Oktoberfest features face painting, juggling, cornhole and crafts, but there are other cool, locally-minded activities and entertainment that vary from year to year.
Like the Phillips Wharf Fishmobile–that’s a mobile aquarium that travels throughout Delmarva to bring children 13 tanks and two touch tanks inhabited by sea creatures native to the Chesapeake Bay. There’s also Scales and Tales from Assateague State Park, where park rangers allow festival-goers to get up close and personal with various regional reptiles and birds of prey.
On a more festive, autumnal note, Worcester Youth and Family provides pumpkin painting, chalking, sand art and pine cone bird feeder making.
How to get there
During the festival, Main Street is closed to vehicles from Main/West to Main/Bay & Jefferson and Broad/Main to Broad/Gay Streets. Commerce Street and Pitts to William are also closed beginning at 9 a.m.
The Town of Berlin recommends that local residents walk or bike to Main Street, while non-local festival-goers should park at the Berlin Intermediate School and take the free shuttle downtown.