The 2020 Oktoberfest kicks off this weekend in Helen with a parade.
Starting at noon Saturday, Sept. 12, the parade will go along the usual downtown route, beginning at the Helen Festhalle, turning left onto Chattahoochee Strasse, then turning right onto Main Street before ending at Betty’s Country Store.
“To date (Sept. 3), we have close to 40 entries, which is the most we’ve had for the Oktoberfest parade,” said Jerry Brown, executive director of the Alpine Helen-White County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, a portion of Edelweiss Strasse will be closed to allow for the parade lineup, Brown said. The road will close on Edelweiss Strasse near The Hayloft Restaurant, and traffic will be detoured down Nar Weg.
Visitors are encouraged to spread out along the route to maintain social distancing. The city also has purchased 2,000 masks that will be given to businesses to distribute to the crowd, Brown said. There will also be signs posted encouraging people to abide by CDC guidelines and social distance.
“We also have a truck that will be driving the parade route as attendees are getting in place for the parade asking them to do the same thing – social distance today and every day,” Brown said.
Guests are being invited to stop by local businesses before and after the parade. Many businesses are planning on setting up tents to allow for music, food, drinks and more as part of the citywide open-air Oktoberfest celebration.
The Faschingsverein Helen group is also planning on holding a volksmarch, which is an organized march that will take place through the town. The volksmarch is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24. Registration will be from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Festhalle Biergarten, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, and finish time is at 2 p.m., also at the Festhalle Beirgarten. During this event, participants will follow a set route around Helen, and they will get their cards marked as they make their way along the route. To stay up to date on this event, visit Facebook.com/fvhelen.
While the tapping of the keg usually takes place at the Helen Festhalle, this year the keg tapping will take place at several locations on multiple Saturdays.
The first tapping is planned for Saturday, Sept. 12, and will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Cowboys & Angels, followed by a tapping at 2:30 p.m. at Troll Tavern, 3:30 p.m. at Café International and 4:30 p.m. at Bodensee. On Saturday, Sept. 19, the tapping will take place at noon at Konig Ludwig Bier Garten, 1 p.m. at Two Tire Tavern, 2 p.m. at Hofer’s Bakery, 3 p.m. at Betty’s Country Store and 4 p.m. at Hofbrauhaus Restaurant.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, the tapping will take place at noon at A Slice of Helen, 1 p.m. at Old Bavarian Inn, 2 p.m. at Alpine Brew Deck and 3 p.m. at the Old Heidelberg. On Saturday, Oct. 3, the tapping will take place at noon at Monday’s Pub, 1 p.m. at Spice 55, 2 p.m. at Blauerwolf Brewery, 3 p.m. at Helen Wine Company, 4 p.m. at Big Daddy’s and 5 p.m. at The Hayloft. Updates to the schedule or locations will be posted on the Faschingsverein Helen Facebook page.
The parade route can be found here.