Tulsa hosts a lot of Oktoberfest parties

In a listing of the 100 largest cities in America, Tulsa ranks as No. 57 when it comes to “2017’s Best Places for Oktoberfest Celebrations.”

Oklahoma is slightly better at No. 51 in the report by WalletHub.com.

Tulsa is tied with Washington, D.C., for the No. 1 spot for “most Oktoberfest festivals and parties per capita.” Tulsa is No. 4 when it comes to the “lowest average price per Oktoberfest celebration ticket.”

In Tulsa, the biggest Oktoberfest Festival is October 19-22 at the River West Festival Park, 2100 S. Jackson Ave. That festival has German food (bratwurst, Bavarian cheesecake, etc.), German crafts, the “Chicken Dance,” music and lots of beer.

The emphasis on alcohol is evident by a list of some major sponsors, including Hard Rock Casino, Samuel Adams (beer), Warsteiner, Goose Island (brewery), Osage Casino, Marshall Brewing Stammtisch, Bud Light and Coors Light. Oktoberfest is presented by the Tulsa River Parks Authority.

Since consumption of beer is so closely integral to Oktoberfest, drunkenness is a problem – especially in public festivals. In 2013, the Tulsa Oktoberfest stopped serving beer in 64-ounce pitchers and limited beer sales to steins. That switch was made after a recommendation by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

“Education and policing are central here,” said Martin O’Neill, professor at Auburn University. “You can never overdo education when it comes to the responsible service and consumption of alcohol. Affordable and varied food options and plenty of water stations is also a great idea. Most importantly, make sure that all vendors are schooled in the responsible service of alcohol and have them prepared to cut folks off immediately they spot an overindulgence issue. A good local police presence should also help in this regard.”

Professor Kenneth J. Sher of The University of Missouri, said, “There are a number of state and local policies that I assume would be relevant to Oktoberfest celebrations, including:

  • Dram shop liability laws;
  • Server training;
  • Laws surrounding public intoxication;
  • Laws surrounding open containers;
  • DUI laws;
  • Regulations surrounding underage drinking.

“Enforcement of existing policy and disseminating knowledge of such policies to hosting (and surrounding) municipalities, businesses, and patrons would likely help promote safer celebrations and minimize harm.”

“To promote safety, the key is not to beam the music too loudly, which encourages heavy drinking, keep a lookout for drunkenness, especially in youth groups, where there might be encouragement by peers to drink in excess,” said Katherine van Wormer, professor at The University of Northern Iowa. “Some limitation on hours is also recommended. Encourage activities such as dancing, and forbid smoking, which will keep alcoholics away. Watch the cars to see that the drivers leaving are not inebriated.”

The date of the first Oktoberfest was at a wedding on October 12, 1810 in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest traditionally runs 16-18 days.

In America, Cincinnati hosts the biggest Oktoberfest (Oktoberfest Zinzinnati). In 2016, 650,000 attended Zinzinnati. One hundred Dachshunds ran in the “Running of the Weiners” and during the Zinzinnati weekend, 2,000 barrels of beer are consumed.

German is the most common European ancestry for Americans with about 46 million claiming ties to German. Albert Einstein, Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock and Dirk Nowitzki are some famous Americans with German ties.

It is estimated that 10-15 percent of the population of Oklahoma have German ancestry. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota all has more than 30 percent ancestral ties to Germany.