Annual event brings a little taste of Germany to downtown Columbia

Visitors to the Gunter Hans’ seventh annual Oktoberfest celebration, held Sept. 30 – Oct. 5 in downtown Columbia, enjoyed authentic German beers, games and music. Servers in traditional dress, a liter-holding contest, beer-soaked bratwursts and Oktoberfest-themed German entertainment were all part of the festivities.  

The event included a different activity for each night. Monday was trivia night, with the grand prize of a Hofbrau table umbrella. Tuesday night, attendees were offered Festbiers from breweries all across the state of Missouri in the biergarten. On Wednesday, winners of the Liter Holding Contest received a one-of-a kind Logboat Oktoberfest hat and other prizes. “Paulaner & Pretzels” began Thursday night and the first 20 people to order Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier received a Paulaner stein and a pretzel. “Oktoberfestivities” concluded Saturday night with beer-soaked bratwursts and freshly baked in-house pretzels.

Kylie Evans serves as the experience curator for Gunter Hans and planned the event.

“My favorite part of the week is the Liter Holding Contest, for sure! And seeing all the servers decked out in their lederhosen and dirndls, or course,” Evans said. “The Liter Holding Contest is so fun that we’ve actually decided to hold another contest on Oct. 24.”

José Soares, a bartender for Gunter Hans from Brazil, worked his second Oktoberfest this year. As a full-time professional ballet dancer, dressing the part of a German bartender was not a problem for him.

“I actually dress up for my actual job, so wearing a lederhosen was actually really fun. I enjoyed it a lot,” Soares said.

As for Soares’ favorite part, “The biers!”

Nicole Webber, a University of Missouri student from Mexico, Missouri, experienced the Oktoberfest activities for the first time this year.

“The atmosphere is my favorite thing,” Webber said. “It’s just a really peaceful and beautiful environment. It’s a great German vibe and the food and beer is delicious.”

Fans of Oktoberfest should mark their calendars for the Gunter Hans Christkindlmarkt event that will be held on Dec. 6. Christkindlmarkt is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas. There will be vendors selling their goods and crafts in the Biergarten, spiked hot apple cider and liqueur-spiked hot cocoa.