Eastern Iowa’s Amana Colonies kickoff a big weekend party today. This marks the 50th year for Oktoberfest, a celebration of the area’s German heritage.
Amana Colonies Festival Coordinator Ellie Cutler says the first Oktoberfest, held in 1965, took place at small baseball park in Middle Amana. “Now, it’s an event that brings in 40,000 people a year, as opposed to just the local crowd,” Cutler said.
Amana is home to the Millstream Brewery and its beers are one the featured attractions of Oktoberfest. The first keg is tapped at 2pm today and those gathered at the Festhalle Barn will drink free beer until the keg is empty. “I think the owner (of Millstream) said they’ll go through 90 kegs over the weekend of the Oktoberfest beer alone,” Cutler said.
There’s a parade on Saturday at 10am and live music through the weekend. There are also games and contests, such as keg tossing, log sawing and a brat eating contest.