Bernard Peterson, owner of Runaway Micropub and Nanobrewery, stands in the Chestnut Street Loop, which will be closed Saturday for Oktoberfest events. The celebration includes German-inspired food, drink and entertainment. (File photo)

Festival’s aim is to celebrate a season in transition

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Oktoberfest returns to the Chestnut Street Loop in downtown Burlington on Saturday after a successful inaugural run in 2020.

The Oktoberfest event held for three consecutive Saturdays includes free German-inspired entertainment, such as dance performances from D’Oberlander’s, of Milwaukee, as well as a dachshund costume contest and parade.

Oktoberfest kicks off at 11 a.m. offers features for people of all ages.

Bernard Petersen, owner of The Runaway Micropub and Nanobrewery, organized the event and said festivities on the first Saturday will bring the most features with hopes of growing the event in the future.

On Saturday, unlike Sept. 25 and Oct. 2, the Chestnut Street loop will close to allow additional foot traffic into the area.

“We are going big the first Saturday and hope we get great attendance and interest in the event so we can continue to grow it,” he said. “The other two weekends it will be similar to last year. The street will not be completely closed, but we will have the food tent outside and the same beers available.”

In the Chestnut Street loop on Saturday, there will be a large tent with plenty of picnic tables, a food and beer tent and authentic German entertainment, according to Petersen.

He said Oktoberfest serves as an opportunity for people to celebrate the transition from summer to fall.

“The changing of seasons from summer to fall is my favorite time of year,” Petersen said. “As a brewer, it’s also very exciting because we are releasing some of my favorite style we brewed months ago that have been lagering in preparation for this event. (It) seems like a perfect reason to have a celebration.”

On the beer lineup at The Runaway, Petersen plans to present four handcrafted small-batch beers all brewed at his brewery, like Runaway Oktoberfest, Hilltopper Pilsner, dark German Lager Schwarzbier and German IPA Hopfenbier.

As for food, according to Petersen, visitors will have authentic German faire from Bavarian Sausage, Inc.

“We are bringing back the popular Nurnberger brats served in pairs, Red Lager Brats, Munich Weisswurst, and Knackwurst all served on Brotchen rolls from Germany,” Petersen said. “In addition, there is a Braunschweiger plate, frankfurters, and Milwaukee pretzels.”


Interactive activities

In the Oktoberfest tent in the Chestnut Street Loop, there will be a euchre tournament, kid’s alpine climbing and activities, dance performances from D’Oberlanders as well a live German music presented by The Biermen.

Petersen states the kid’s activities comes courtesy of a partnership with the Loop Commons.

“We are partnering with the Loop Commons with a kid’s activity to make an Alpine hat at the Runaway tent and then do a short Alpine climb on the bouldering wall at the Loop Commons,” Petersen said. “This is a great opportunity for both kids and adults to see the amazing transformation of that building.”

Many other businesses, Petersen said, will have specials and hope to garner exposure to their establishments.

Additionally, according to Petersen, the opportunity can shine a spotlight on historic downtown Burlington.

“One of the things that inspires us to do these events is to put historic downtown Burlington on the map as a cool, happening place to make sure our new downtown businesses succeed and attract more of them,” he said.

The Biermen come from Milwaukee, and have entertained people of all ages for many years with German, Austrian and Croatian music.

Entertainment and food, however, will not be the only options available for Oktoberfest visitors.

On Saturday, visitors can join in the fun, with the Dachshund costume contest and parade, contests for best-dressed lederhosen and Drindl, a stein hoisting competition along with a yodeling contest.

Prizes will include a combination of medals, gift cards, and free food and beer, Petersen said.

The next two Saturdays – Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 – will primarily focus on The Runaway taproom and back patio with a food tent available in front.

“There will not be live music but streaming German music and fun,” Petersen said of the last two Saturdays. “We have a lot of authentic German fair and craft beers to try. This kept folks coming back all three weekends last year.”

Oktoberfest 2021

Saturday Sept. 18

Oktoberfest Tent

  • 9-11 a.m. Euchre tournament
  • 10-11:30 a.m. Kid’s alpine climbing and activities
  • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. D’Oberlander German dancers
  • 3:30-6:30 p.m. The Biermen: Live German Music

Das Biergarten

  • 11 a.m. Tapping of the Oktoberfest Ceremony
  • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Food tent open
  • 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Beer tent open

Fest Spiele

  • 1-1:30 p.m. Dachshund costume contest and parade
  • 5 p.m. Best dressed: Lederhosen and Dirndl
  • 7 p.m. Stein hoisting competition
  • 8 p.m. Yodeling contest