In Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is a very big deal.
It’s a multi-day beer-drinking event that always starts at the end of September and lasts until the first Sunday in October. Millions of people travel to Munich and nearby towns each year to chug beer from boots, eat authentic German fare and generally party als gabe es kein morgan.
This year, Wichita will be the site of a new Oktoberfest party that is being staged in and around its new German restaurant Prost, which opened late last year at Revolutsia, the shipping container mall at Central and Volutsia. It will also be a multi-day party, starting on Thursday, Sept. 26, and running through Sunday, Sept. 29.
Owner Manu English, a native of Germany who does the cooking for the restaurant, and her husband, Austin, are putting on the event, and it will be as authentic as it can get in Kansas. And the couple should know — they’ve attended Oktoberfest in Germany several times over the years.
The couple has gotten special permission to extend the party into the large, outdoor courtyard in the center of Revolutsia, and attendees will be allowed to drink beer inside the center’s footprint. The event also will include live polka music, sauerkraut- and pretzel-eating contests, games for kids and staff dressed in lederhosen and dirndls. On the Saturday of the event, Prost will put on its monthly stein hoisting contest.
The Prost staff will decorate the complex to make it look like a German biergarten, Austin English said. People who plan to drink beer will purchase a $5 wristband. Otherwise, admission will be free.
The restaurant won’t serve its regular menu for the duration of Oktoberfest. Instead, it’ll offer a pared-down menu of brats, pretzels and fries. It’ll also have three German beers on tap, and people will be able to enjoy food and drink inside of Prost, on its balcony and anywhere in the Revolutsia courtyard.
The Englishes met with the other businesses in Revolutsia, and many are on board with the event, Austin English said. Some have even promised to offer products and treats that will have an Oktoberfest theme. The Prost owners will also keep their Ze German Markt, which sells authentic German products likes chocolates, T-shirts — even chicken dance hats — open throughout the event.
The hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday Sept. 26-28 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.
Austin English said that if the event is a hit, he and Manu hope to expand it. Maybe someday, he speculated, it could close down part of the street to accommodate even bigger crowds and even rival the Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa, a party so big that it is nationally recognized as one of the country’s best Oktoberfests.
“I would love to have it grow to be bigger than Tulsa’s,” he said.
We’ll publish a story soon with more details about Prost’s Oktoberfest party, about the annual ICT Bloktoberfest put on in downtown Wichita (this year, it’s Oct. 4-5) and about the various Oktoberfest parties being put on in bars around town during the coming weeks.