The biggest block party of the year is about to takeover downtown McKinney as Oktoberfest kicks off Friday. Entrance and parking is free but, you'll need tickets to eat, drink and ride. Ticket booths will be scattered throughout downtown. Here are a few tips to help you make this year's visit better than ever.
1. Park and ride
Oktoberfest admission and parking are free. Access a map of the free parking lots. Complimentary shuttle service is offered during all three days of the event. Festival goers can park off-site at First McKinney Baptist Church, 1615 W. Louisiana St., and enjoy round-trip transportation. Shuttles depart every 15 minutes.
And for those of you that don't want to worry about driving, a designated zone for drop-offs and pick-ups for LYFT & UBER drivers is located on the west side of Mitchell Park on Benge Street, between West Louisiana and West Virginia streets.
2. Friday's parade and keg tapping
Friday at 6 p.m. the Oktoberfest parade will wind through downtown McKinney led by a drum line featuring folks rocking Lederhosen and other German-inspired outfits. The parade will end with a keg-tapping ceremony featuring Mayor Pro Tem Randy Pogue, Rep. Scott Sanford and Dennis Werhmann of Franconia Brewery. The keg tapping officially kicks off the festival and could score you some free beer. For more info and a brief history, click here.
3. Drink German beer and shake your tail feather...literally
From 6-8 p.m the goodwill games will provide some entertainment as attendees compete in beir stein races. If those events don't tickle your fancy, try your hand at a game of giant bier pong from 8-10 p.m. These events take place throughout the weekend so check that link above for a schedule. At 8:30 p.m., fluff your feathers because Texas' largest chicken dance will take place. Even if you aren't participating, this event will definitely provide some good photos.
4. Weenie Dogs and Wannabes unite on Saturday
More than 70 dogs will participate in a weenie dog race for a prize package from The Canine Cookie Company and The Mutt Puddle and no event would be complete without the grand champion trophy, which is also up for grabs. Registration takes place at 11:30 a.m. Weenie dog race is from 12-2 p.m. and the wannabe race is from 2-5 p.m. Click here for more info. Tickets are $5 and include registration for one dog.
5. This one's for the kids
McKinney's Oktoberfest is family friendly and there are plenty of activities for kids such as carnival rides, petting zoo, face painting, and a rock climbing wall. German dances will take place throughout the day on multiple stages downtown. Some activities require a nominal fee but you can see more about the children's activities here. And click here for a schedule of the performances.
6. Worth the money
Although there are several events and experiences you can enjoy for free, there are some things that will require tickets. Those include:
- The Hofbrau "Musskrugstemmen" Stein Holding Competition, which takes place from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday. It's $20 to participate but the winner advance to a paid trip to Las Vegas and all participates receive an official Hofbrau stein and beer.
- The first annual Tupps Brat Eating Competition is $10 and takes place from 3-4 p.m. on Saturday. Participants compete to see who can eat the most "naked" brats in 8 minutes. Winners get a trophy and prize package from Tupps Brewery.
- Meet the Brewmaster on Friday at 8:30 p.m., Saturday at 11:30 a.m. or 8:30 p.m. For $20 guests get 10 beverage tickets, an official t-shirt and Oktoberfest bier sampling. Brewmasters from Franconia Brewery and Tupps Brewery will take turns teaching the ins and outs that go in making the perfect beer.
You can purchase tickets to any of these events online here. And for more general information or a schedule for the entire three-day event, click here.