Everyone has heard of Oktoberfest — the German drinking festival where festival-goers usually sport stylish lederhosen and join strangers to celebrate beer! However, outside of Europe, and specifically in Hadley, Massachusetts, Oktoberfest has a different aesthetic and meaning to the demographic of day drinkers in the area. As it only happens once a year, it’s hard to say “no” when presented with the chance to go. Here’s a guided list of pros and cons from my Oktoberfest experience that will hopefully help you make a decision for next year!
Buying a Ticket
Depending on when you purchase a ticket, prices for entry can vary from $15–$50. So the earlier you buy your ticket, the better. I bought my ticket in mid-September (one week and a month away from Oktoberfest) and I spent $38.77.
Pros: Ticket price offsets some things like the provided transportation.
Cons: Could be very expensive if you purchase a ticket last minute. This would be even more unfortunate if for some reason you cannot make it to Oktoberfest and you spent all that money on a ticket.
Get ready for flashbacks because the transportation provided for Oktoberfest is actually school buses. Be prepared to walk over to downtown Amherst to catch a bus for about a 15-minute ride to The Young Men’s Club of Hadley.
Pros: A convenient, sober driver to and from the event.
Cons: Depending on where you live, downtown Amherst might be a far walk or an annoying drive for you. Also, waiting in line and trying to get on the bus with all of your friends might not be the easiest task during rush hour.
If you’re a beer lover, there’s a variety of beers to try. I got to try a pumpkin beer ($5) which was fun to taste even though I don’t actually like beer that much. There is a whole bar on sight to appeal to any drinking preferences. The bar is cash only, so make sure to bring a good amount of money with you (around $50) not just for drinks, but for food too!
Cons: $5 for one can of beer is expensive, even for beer. However, buying alcohol when you go out is always expensive, no matter where you go.
The main event — the headlining artists that perform at the festival — is the last performance at Oktoberfest before everyone leaves for the buses. There are several opening acts to check out before the main act gets on stage. The opening acts usually perform from noon to 4:00 p.m. Prior main acts from past years have been Sammy Adams who sings “All Night Longer” and Kyle who sings “I Spy.” Looking at the main acts of Oktoberfests of the past, it’s not usually an artist with a well-known discography. However, it’s still fun to hear the tracks that made these artists famous!
Pros: Getting to see an artist live in concert!
Cons: Having to sit through smaller artists just to hear a quasi-popular artist sing only one song that you know.