By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 06, 2023 at 12:29 PM

Festival City is hopping this summer! OnMilwaukee's Festival Guide is brought to you by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. Escape the heat and step inside! 

Oktoberfest – for a marzen lover like me, it’s the most wonderful time of the beer.

With the city's German heritage and thriving passion for suds, it’s little surprise that Milwaukee loves this autumn festival of food and froth.

Kegel’s Inn, Swarmm Events, East Town Association and Milwaukee County Parks are again collaborating on Milwaukee Oktoberfest, this time at Cathedral Square Park Downtown, from Oct. 6 to 8.

The family friendly event features stein hoisting, Miss Oktoberfest, cornhole and Wiener Dog beauty competitions, along with authentic German food from Kegel’s Inn and, of course, beer.

Last year's event was held at the Milwaukee War Memorial Beer Garden.

“Oktoberfest was last held in Cathedral Square back in 2015,” says Eddie Sturkey, executive director of East Town Association. “It’s exciting to bring this free community event back to one of the city’s iconic Downtown parks.”

Admission is free and wristbands for folks 21 and up to purchase alcohol are $2. VIP and party packages are also available.

Proceeds benefit Milwaukee County Parks via East Town Association and its programming at Cathedral Square Park, including Bastille Days and Jazz In the Park.

“We are excited to be back at Cathedral Square Park with room to grow,” says Michael Sampson, owner of Swarmm Events.

For more information and to purchase VIP and party tickets, visit

“Kegel’s Inn is proud to have served the community since 1924,” says Stephanie Kegel, fourth generation owner of Kegel’s Inn.

“Milwaukee is a town with so much rich culture and history, and as we approach our 100th anniversary we’re excited to be participating again in this fun annual event with our partners at Cathedral Square!”

Oktoberfest at Old Heidelberg Park

Now celebrating 60 years on its current site, Oktoberfest on the grounds of the Bavarian Bierhaus takes place weekends through Oct. 7.

Gates open at 4 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and there’s live music, carnival games, frothy beer, German dancing, and food galore, including Usinger’s sausage, Bavarian pretzels, doner kebap, schnitzel, fish on Fridays, kids and vegetarian meals, and, on Fridays and Saturdays, spanferkel and otissere chicken.

Admission is $5 on Fridays and $10 on Saturdays. Wristbands are sold at the front gate. Admission is free on Thursdays and Sundays. Get a $5 discount when you download the Bavarian Bierhaus App and show it at the gate.

Reservations for tables of eight ($10 on Friday, $40 on Saturday) can be made here.

Find more info, including a full roster of live music, at

Duesterbeck's Brewing Company

Elkhorn's farmhouse brewery, N5543 County Rd. O, hosts its fourth annual Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. German dancers, vendors, food trucks, live music, the brewery's own Oktoberfest marzen beer and more.

Pilot Project

The brewery taproom will host an Oktoberfest Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. with a tasting of Pilot Project's autumnal brews and a curated five-course meal by Chef Ryan Gill. Each course will be paired with a seasonal beer from one of Pilot Project's incubated brands, including Azadi Brewing, Funkytown Brewery, and Brewer's Kitchen. Tickets are $75, with tax and tip are included.


Ray's Wine & Spirits in Wauwatosa hosts the inaugural RAY-toberfest parking lot party, Sunday, Oct. 8 from noon until 5 p.m., rain or shine. At the free event there will be food from Bunzel's, beer, games for all ages, craft vendors, music from DJ Fuzzy Logic and more. Lots of marzens and festbiers on tap, stein-holding contest with cash prize and more.  Click here for details on a VIP package that includes a stein.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.