Break out the dirndl and lederhosen! Oktoberfest returns to The Wharf

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Oktoberfest at The Wharf (Part 1)

It’s that time of year again where D.C. breaks out the dirndl and lederhosen as The Wharf hosts Oktoberfest on the Southwest Waterfront from Sept. 15-17.

“In attendance, we run about 6,000 people [per] day,” programming director Jennifer Curry told WTOP. “We’ve expanded the footprint of the event. It sounds like a crazy amount of people, but it’s just a big party.”

Of all the different Oktoberfests in the area, The Wharf is a unique location.

“Being out on the water is a different experience,” Curry said. “We do a lot of events at The Wharf out on the piers, so not only are you having fun, but you’ve got these really amazing waterfront views around you. What’s really nice is that you can make a whole day of it. You can come into the event, hang out, have fun, you can go grab lunch at one of the restaurants, you can walk around, it’s more of something for everybody.”

Oktoberfest kicks off Friday with polka dancing to the live band Polka Partei from 7 to 9 p.m.

“Learn how to polka dance,” Curry said. “This is the final installment of a really fun series of dance nights that we do at The Wharf. The idea is that you come out for free, hopefully all dressed up, and you spend the first 30 minutes learning how to do the actual dance, then the instructors stay around to help people while you dance to music from a live band. It’s a really fun time. We do it out on Transit Pier under the lights at night.”

Saturday brings the 11th annual Wiener 500 Dachshund Dash from 2 to 5 p.m., raising money for Rural Dog Rescue, which pulls dogs from high-kill shelters in rural areas and brings them to the District to find loving homes.

“This is 128 Dachshunds racing for fame and fortune,” Curry said. “There’s a beer garden, so Sam Adams Oktoberfest will be flowing, then the dogs race in groups of eight and make their way through 16 heats to two semifinals on to a championship. It’s all broadcast on two jumbotron screens, one on District Pier, one on Transit Pier, we’ve got a DJ playing music to the whole thing, it’s really just a ridiculously fun afternoon.”

The festivities culminate on Sunday with stein-hoisting competitions from 2 to 5 p.m., where the winner gets a goody bag of prizes and a free refill of Sam Adams Oktoberfest in their stein.

“There are 12 different restaurants at The Wharf taking part in this,” Curry said. “The idea is that you are at one of the restaurants and we show up with the one-liter steins, a very traditional German stein that they use at the real Oktoberfest. We fill them up, we ask people to line up in a row and hold out their stein, and the person who can hold it straight-armed, no propping, no assistance, the longest, gets crowned the winner.”

Throughout all of these free events, don’t forget to dress the part.

“Hey D.C., let’s get on out there in your best lederhosen and dirndls,” Curry said. “It’s a fun, fun weekend and it’s also for a really great cause, so we hope to see you out there. Prost!”

Find more information here.

Listen to our full conversation here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Oktoberfest at The Wharf (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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