Friday, August 31st, 2018
Celebrate Oktoberfest Near Bellingham, WA in 2018
Brandon Fralic

A harvest festival celebrated since the early 1800’s, Oktoberfest is traditionally held during the month of September in Germany. Here in the Northwest, we mix it up, with some Oktoberfest events starting in September, and others held in October. Regardless of when they are held, Oktoberfest events are as good a reason as any to gather with friends over German-style lagers in the Biergarten.

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen Oktoberfest. Photo courtesy of Chuckanut Brewery.

In 2018, Oktoberfest events will be held over several weekends in and near Bellingham, WA. From biers-on-the-bay to a 36-year-old fundraiser for loggers, there’s a Fest for everyone. Here’s where to celebrate throughout Whatcom County.

The Events

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen Oktoberfest

September 8, 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Oktoberfest season kicks off in Whatcom County at Bellingham’s own Chuckanut Brewery. $1 admission gets you into the all-ages event (kids under 10 are free) where bier, brats, and pretzels are available for purchase. Bier garden games (washers, giant Jenga, cornhole) and contests (yodeling, liter-holding) abound while the oom-pah bands play. Bring the kids along for face-painting and chicken dancing. And don’t forget your dirndl or lederhosen — there’s a costume contest, too!

Perhaps the biggest draw for this Oktoberfest celebration is the beer itself. When it comes to European-style lagers, Chuckanut Brewery is the undisputed king around these parts. So amidst the festivities, take a minute to seek out their 2018 Fest Bier (or any of their award-winning local lagers). Chuckanut’s Kolsch German Style Ale and Pilsner Lager are world-class: both brought home Gold in the 2018 World Beer Cup.

Oktoberfest at Kulshan (Roosevelt location)

September 15, 3:00-8:00 pm

Six Bellingham breweries (Kulshan, Aslan, Chuckanut, Wander, Illuminati, and Gruff) have teamed up to host their very own Oktoberfest this year at Kulshan’s K2 location. That’s right, six breweries. This is essentially a mini brewers festival, disguised as an “Oktoberfest”. So dance on down to K2, where the beer floweth from liter steins and live music keeps the party going. There’s a costume contest, too, so don’t forget to rock your finest German garb. Free admission, 21+ only. 

Oktoberfest Cruises

September 28+29, 6:30-8:00pm

Join Boundary Bay Brewery aboard San Juan Cruises’ Victoria Star 2 for a cruise featuring a variety of fall harvest beers from local breweries. German bratwurst, sauerkraut, potato salad and other selections will be on the menu, all served to the tune of festive music. These 1.5-hour cruises depart each evening at 6pm and tend to sell out in advance, so grab a ticket ($49) while you can. This event is 21+ only. Check out our Brewers Cruise review for more info! 

Bellingham Oktoberfest 2018

October 6, 6:00-10:00pm

Not to be outdone, Bellingham Oktoberfest 2018 will feature 16+ beer & cider options. Aslan, Boundary Bay, Kulshan, Stone’s Throw, Twin Sisters, and Wander will be on hand for a nice mix of beers from Bellingham. Lost Giants Cider and Schilling Hard Cider will pour as well. Admission ($25 advance, $35 at the door) includes a tasting cup, 5 tasting tickets, and live music. It all goes down at Bellingham Technical College Settlemyer Hall, with proceeds benefiting the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County. This event is 21+ only. 

Deming Log Show Oktoberfest

October 12+13

Hefty litre steins smash against solid tables, voices raise in hoarse cries of ‘Gsuffa’ (drink) as thousands link arms, swaying like wheat fields in a prairie wind to the brassy sounds of oompah bands. Dumplings, sausages, potatoes, red cabbage, and huge pork hocks arrive with more steins…The familiar song echoes overhead ‘Ein prosit…ein prosit…’

So begins the ode to Munich Oktoberfest in the Deming Log Show Oktoberfest pamphlet. Not to be confused with the traditional German celebration described above, Deming’s festivities are a little less raucous and a lot closer to home. But that doesn’t change the fact that Whatcom County’s longest-running Oktoberfest celebration — now in its 36th year — offers much merriment in the form of singalong songs, dance, food, and drink.

Held each year on the second full weekend of October, Deming Oktoberfest opens at high noon on Friday before closing out late Saturday evening. Each day, attendees enjoy live music from the Tillamook, Oregon-based Polkatones band — a traveling ensemble decked out in dirndls and lederhosen.

This event is 21+ only. Admission includes a free souvenir stein, parking, and camping. Proceeds benefit Busted Up Loggers, to support families of loggers who have been injured or killed on the job. And did I mention there will be lots of beer? Prost! 

Hoptoberfest

October 20, 6:00-10:00 pm

It’s almost time for the third annual Hoptoberfest! Held at Bellingham Sportsplex, this massive indoor festival features 37,000 feet of event space (complete with beer, cider, and spirits). In addition to over 60 draft beers from over 30 breweries, there will be local food trucks and live music from Sunset Superman.

Hoptoberfest 2018

Tickets range from $20-$35; all proceeds go to Rebound of Whatcom County and Whatcom County Sports and Recreation. Hoptoberfest is an excellent way to close out the 2018 Oktoberfest season in Whatcom County for a great cause.

Also, see our Beer page for more posts about Bellingham Craft Beer.

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About the Author:

Freelance writer Brandon Fralic has called Bellingham home since 2006. He writes about the outdoors, travel, and craft beer for a variety of regional publications. Brandon co-founded Beers at the Bottom in 2013 to highlight Pacific Northwest trails and ales. His first book, Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest, was released in 2018.