Oktoberfests take place worldwide every year. One of the largest celebrations of its kind takes place on the east coast in our own backyard of Reading, PA. The Reading Liederkranz’s holds the oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest in all of Pennsylvania, and offers five continuous days of authentic German foods, beer, entertainment, and family fun!

While COVID-19 has postponed many festivals, the Liederkranz’s celebration will still go on, but with some exciting changes.

The Origins

This year, the Reading Liederkranz’s annual fall event will be a three-day re-enactment of a 19th-century wedding that evolved into the Oktoberfest we know of today. The fun begins on Thursday, October 1, and ends on Saturday, October 3.

For those that are unaware of the origins of Oktoberfest, you might be surprised to learn it began with the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. The royal families invited the residents of Munich, Germany, to join them in five days of wedding merriment. Over the years, observance of the wedding anniversary began to include the fall harvest and, celebrations continued to expand.

The Engagement - October 1

The first night of the Reading Liederkranz’s Wedding Feast will feature the engagement of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. After Ludwig’s father, King Maximilian I Joseph, was granted permission from Emperor Napoleon for his son to marry Therese, the royals announced the engagement on February 12, 1810, and celebrated in Bavaria. Ludwig and Therese were only engaged for ten months before they wed in October. Two members of the Reading Liederkranz will portray the prince and princess for the three nights of re-enactments. Attendees are welcome to dress in their best trachten and dirndls or come dressed as a 19th-century wedding guest. Gates will open at 5 p.m. each night, with dinner served between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and conclude at 10 p.m. The Engagement dinner options include goulash with noodles and potato salad or rotisserie chicken with potato salad and corn-on-the-cob.

The Wedding - October 2

You are cordially invited to attend the wedding that started it all! Join the festivities on Friday, October 2, and be transported back in time to Munich 1810. The wedding feast offerings include roast pork with potato salad and red cabbage or rotisserie chicken with potato salad and corn-on-the-cob. Enjoy live music each night provided by Kermit Ohlinger, Mike Surrat And The Continentals, Alex Meixner Band, and Bavarski.

The Banquet - October 3

After the union of the royal couple, the citizens of Bavaria continued to celebrate outside the gates of Munich with performances, parties, and the famous horse race. While the Reading Liederkranz’s plans can’t duplicate the original revelry, it is sure to be a night to remember. For the last night of dining, guests can choose from either a brat platter with potato salad and sauerkraut or rotisserie chicken with potato salad and corn-on-the-cob.

Celebrate the First Oktoberfest

The Wedding Feast at the Reading Liederkranz is a member event; however, tickets are open to the public and include a membership to the organization for the remainder of 2020. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Liederkranz and cover admission, parking, meals, and entertainment. All attendees must follow the Reading Liederkranz’s safety guidelines, including wearing a mask at all times (unless seated at a table), social distancing, and abiding by the two-person limit in bathrooms. The current CDC and State Guidelines will be followed.

Like the Liederkranz’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, the wedding events will go on, rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, attendees will find a large selection of tables under the covered pavilion area and in the Biergarten section of the Club.