Food, fun and brews at the heart of ArtsQuest’s fall favorite

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — The fall skies might have been fickle during opening weekend, but ArtsQuest’s 12th annual Oktoberfest, presented by Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE), welcomed nearly 40,000 people who eagerly donned lederhosen and imbibed hops throughout both October weekends. Along with food, fun and brews, the annual festival hosted a variety of local businesses, performers, and vendors at the SteelStacks campus.

“We’re always eager to host this area favorite,” said Curt Mosel, Chief Operating Officer of ArtsQuest. “Our annual Oktoberfest continues to grow because of our great corporate and community partnerships. It’s the dedication and work we do collectively that ensures people of all ages have a great time enjoying this popular festival and sharing this celebration of our German heritage.”

During the course of the outdoor festival, attendees enjoyed multiple October themed beers from Yuengling, Hofbräu, Samuel Adams, Logyard, Victory and Troegs, as well as hand-brewed creations in the Brewer’s Village featuring a plethora of craft IPAs, ales and lagers. Unique retailers and crafters set up shop at the German dubbed crafters village — Künstler Markt.

Hungry festival goers enjoyed fare favorites from over a half dozen vendors including Karl Ehmer’s Smoked Meats, Heaven on a Bun, Heidi’s Strudel, and newcomers Bacon on a Stick. According to food and beverage vendors, sales were up from 2021 despite the first weekend’s chilly overcast weather.

For Jeff Terleski, owner of Island Expression/Heidi’s Strudel, Oktoberfest went great. “ArtsQuest is a great organization to partner with,” said Terleski. “The event is growing every year, there is so much to do with all the different games and entertainment.” Terleski said his most popular items this year were the warm strudel, hand-twisted pretzels and the newest addition - Papa Sarges Homemade Pierogies. “The pierogies were a huge hit,” Terleski said.

Oktoberfest 2022 Highlights

ArtsQuest hosted the experiential dining experience PierogiPalooza for the second year during both Saturdays of the festival. Attendees purchased passports and sampled their choice of six pierogi creations at different locations in the ArtsQuest Center.

This year’s Pennsylvania State Steinholding Championship produced in partnership with the U.S. Steinholding Association and presented by Samuel Adams, culminated with Jillian Matthews of Bangor and Samuel Raup of Bethlehem winning the Sunday finals, each earning a spot in the National Steinholding Championship.

In the Oktoberfest Arena PNC Plaza, 135 four-legged racers competed in the much-loved dachshund races during the festival. The Hasselhoff-off contest returned, with competitors stepping out in their best Hasselhoff duds.

The ever-entertaining Dragtoberfest presented by Jack Daniel’s returned this year. So widely-popular, it was moved from the arena to the Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling on both Saturday nights. Other activities included axe-throwing, Karaoke with Royal and the Kong Pong Tourney presented by Yuengling.

Live musical performances occurred in the festivals Biergartens, Arena and the Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks presented by Lehigh Valley Health Network. The Wonton Soups opened this year’s Oktoberfest while John Stevens Polka Band, The Beautiful Distortion, Melody Cruz, Big Bone Daddy, Acoustic Kitty Project, Regina Sayles and The BriTles brought nonstop entertainment throughout Oktoberfest.