Alpine Helen's Oktoberfest celebrations have been going on for more than 50 years, involving multiple weeks of traditional dancing, food, and beer from September through October. Held in the city’s riverside Festhalle, the permanent home of the festivities, the celebration is the longest-running of its kind in the United States.
Revelers dress in traditional attire, lederhosen and dirndls, while dancing to the polka. Find out for yourself what makes this tradition so unique by planning your own trip to the event!
When to Go to Helen for Oktoberfest
Celebrate the start of Oktoberfest with a parade at noon on Sept. 9, 2023, in downtown Helen. Helen’s Oktoberfest runs from Thursday to Sunday through September and daily from Sept. 28 to Oct. 29, 2023.
Like with its German counterpart, the celebrations at Helen's Oktoberfest are wildly different from weekday to weekend. Weekends are popular with tour and college groups, while weekdays tend to be a bit more family-friendly. The event is open to all ages. Admission is $10 during the week, $12 on Fridays & Saturdays, and free on Sundays, with food and drink available for purchase. The doors open at 6 p.m. throughout the week and at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Where to Stay in Helen for Oktoberfest
Accommodations book up for Oktoberfest quickly, so make plans in advance. Alpine-inspired hotels like Valhalla Resort Hotel and The Heidi Motel are popular options for their amenities and quirky suites, respectively. There are also outposts of national chain hotels in town.
Campgrounds are another option, whether you're looking for basic tent sites or RV sites with all the bells and whistles. You can also stay in nearby communities like Cleveland, Dahlonega and Blairsville. Helen is an easy drive from Atlanta, less than two hours, and only an hour from the Lake Lanier area.
What to Do in Helen for Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is all about the nods to German traditions.
Enjoy live music and dancing
The event has a rotating group of musical acts playing traditional German tunes and modern favorites. Dance the polka and others with festival regulars. Sing along with the songs like “Ein Prosit.”
Eat and drink
The Festhalle has the ceremonial tapping of keg like you'd see at the Munich version of the celebration. The tents have a selection of German and American beers for those who are of age.