Young group enjoying Oktoberfest

What’s so special about the Liederkranz Oktoberfest in Reading, PA?

One of Pennsylvania’s most popular fall events takes place annually in Reading, PA. The Reading Liederkranz’s Oktoberfest is the oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest in all of Pennsylvania, and one of the largest celebrations of its kind on the east coast. This year, Oktoberfest runs from October 2nd to the 6th, and offers five continuous days of authentic German foods, beer, entertainment, and family fun!

The event is so true to its German origins, it was voted the Best Oktoberfest in America by USAToday 10Best in both 2015 and 2017. In 2012, when BusinessInsider.com rated the nine best Oktoberfests in the world and the Liederkranz ranked 4th, behind Munich, Germany! There must be something to all the hype; the festival attracts upwards of 15,000 attendees from near and far each year.

A combination of factors make for the Oktoberfest’s success

The Reading Liederkranz began life as a singing club in 1885 in Reading, Pennsylvania, an area heavily settled by German immigrants. Today, over 130 years and 2,500 members later, the Reading Liederkranz German Singing and Sports Society club continues to honor the German heritage and traditions of its founders through language, culture, cuisine, sport, and family.

The organization invites its members to partake in German language classes, as well as the singing and schuhplattler dance groups. Additionally, its location on ten beautiful, wooded acres, is reminiscent of the German countryside. The setting offers ample outdoor space, plenty of parking, and an ideal ambiance for the club’s many events including Mai Fest, Karneval (Mardi Gras), Bockbier Fest, Christkindlmarkt and of course, Oktoberfest.

People dancing at Oktoberfest in traditional German garb

Why Celebrate?

It all began as a wedding celebration. On October 12, 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The royals graciously asked the residents of Munich to share in the five days of wedding festivities. The rest, as they say, is history. Wedding anniversary observances coincided with the harvest and the annual tapping of the new beer. Before long, the festivities grew and evolved into Oktoberfest as we know it today.

As the Reading Liederkranz in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region readies itself for iOne

The Reading Liederkranz held its first Oktoberfest in 1949. Since then, it has grown into the world famous event we know today. This kind of renown doesn’t just happen on its own. The club’s membership works tirelessly for weeks before the October celebration so they can provide attendees with the most authentic Oktoberfest experience possible, sans a trip to Germany. Food, entertainment, volunteer schedules; nothing is left to chance in preparation for the five-day party.

The result is nothing short of perfection. For five consecutive days, people young and old, dressed in their best lederhosen and dirndls dance, sing, eat, and enjoy the company of friends and family in the welcoming atmosphere of the Liederkranz…or could it really be Germany?