There is much to enjoy this weekend at the Ohio Expo Center.
Two big events — Oktoberfest and the Fall Dispatch Home & Garden Show are taking place next door to each other.
Given that Oktoberfest was cancelled last year because of the pandemic, organizers of the 55th annual event are eager for its return.
With an absence of in-person festivities in 2020, Brand Ambassador Matt Schmidt said he’s excited for this year’s festival given its history and influence within Greater Columbus.
“We’ve been a part of this since the mid-1960s, but we’re extremely excited this year,” said Schmidt, a fifth-generation contributor of the festival. “With it being Oktoberfest season, I think everyone will be excited to be outside, drink some good German beer and some hearty food.”
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The enduring appeal of German festival
Executive Director Carla Epler credits Oktoberfest’s lasting popularity to its authentic feel. Along with the expo’s large pavilions reminiscent of the beer halls in Germany, she said the event incorporates the best elements from festivals across the Western European country.
“They all have a different feel to them, but we feel we’ve taken the best parts of the ones we’ve seen in Munich and make it so there’s something for everyone,” Epler said.
“The highest compliment we get is when folks come up to us and say, ‘This makes me feel at home.'”
More fun at the Expo Center
And while, you are at the fairgrounds, why not stop by the Fall Dispatch Home & Garden Show, which runs Friday through Sunday.
There, you will find tips on home improvement and a chance to see Dave and Jenny Marrs of HGTV fame as well as Laura Dowling, Laura Dowling, host of The Flower podcast and former Chief Floral Designer for The White House on Saturday.
Also on Saturday will be a special ceremony announcing the winners of The Dispatch Backyard Garden Awards!
And Sunday is Family Day when guests from COSI, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Dawes Arboretum, The Butterfly House and The Turtle Lady (Nancy Lockard) will make their way to the show. Guests can learn how to invite bees and butterflies to their gardens using Ohio native plants and kids can make arts and crafts while hearing about the plants that provide the most beauty and activity throughout the seasons.
And an added bonus: Visitors to Oktoberfest and The Dispatch Home Show will have free access to each event.
So, get ready for a weekend of fun!
Oktoberfest by the numbers
The Columbus Oktoberfest boasts:
• More than 400 kegs of beer
• 4,000 steins
• 6,000 sausage sandwiches made by all vendors
• 3,000 cream puffs
• 30,000 pounds of weight lifted by athletes on Saturday
The scoop on Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest will officially kick off on Thursday with an opening party from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Hofbrauhaus Columbus, 800 Goodale Blvd.
The festival will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Ohio Expo Center, Interstate 71 and East 17th Avenue.
Admission is free. Parking costs $10, and all food and beverages purchases will be via credit card to reduce contact.
For more information and a full list of food vendors and activities, go to www.columbusoktoberfest.com.
The scoop on The Fall Dispatch Home & Garden Show
The Fall Dispatch Home & Garden Show will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Admission costs $5, or free for children 17 and younger. Parking costs $5.
Vouchers for free admission for two guests are available at any central Ohio Lowe’s location. Admission is also free with an admission coupon from Columbus Oktoberfest.
Shuttles will run between the two events on Saturday and Sunday, offering people the opportunity to easily enjoy both events.
Free “Thank You” tickets are available for military members, first responders, health care workers and teachers. Members can register for one complimentary ticket online, then show their valid ID and the online ticket at the Guest Services booth before entering the show.
For more information, to go https://www.DispatchHomeAndGardenShow.com.