The festival season in late 2021 was a record-setting one for the McKinney community.

Oktoberfest, McKinney’s annual German-fare festival, was held Sept. 24-26 in the city’s historic downtown square. More than 77,000 people visited McKinney during the event, the most in recent history, said Amy Rosenthal program director of McKinney Main Street.

“McKinney Oktoberfest is the primary revenue-generating event for McKinney Main Street,” Rosenthal said. “The festival serves as a promotional opportunity to help increase the visibility of downtown McKinney and attract visitors. Revenues from McKinney Oktoberfest are reinvested in downtown through advertising and special programs.”

According to Rosenthal, some highlights from the event include:

  • $50,000 increase in ticket sales in 2021 over 2019

  • 40,000+ beers served

  • 5,000 steins sold

  • 100+ trolley trips

  • 40 stein-holding competitors

  • 9,127 individuals registered with 42,000 entries for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Munich, Germany’s Oktoberfest

  • 56 dogs in the Weenie Dog & Wanna Be’s Races

McKinney’s other big event in late 2021 was Home for the Holidays, an annual tree lighting ceremony with events throughout the weekend, such as ice skating and carousel rides. This event was held Nov. 26-28 in downtown McKinney. Home for the Holidays also marked a significant achievement in 2021. During a March 24 McKinney Community Development Corporation meeting, board member Rick Glew said 2021 was the first year Home for the Holidays paid for itself.

“That’s a huge change, and it’s really good for our city,” Glew said. “It doesn’t spend a lot of the money that was gained on Oktoberfest. It’s all due to the different changes that Amy and her team have made.”

The event was originally called Dickens of a Christmas, but transitioned into Home for the Holidays over the years, Rosenthal said.

“For the past 41 years, downtown McKinney has kicked off the holiday season with festivities during Thanksgiving weekend,” she said. “For many, a visit to Downtown McKinney is part of an annual family tradition.”

The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Home for the Holidays returned in 2021. While rain affected attendance on Saturday, typically its busiest day, Home for the Holidays still attracted 62,000 people over the weekend, Rosenthal said.

While Home for the Holidays is not intended to generate revenue, throughout the years Main Street McKinney has developed methods to minimize expenses, Rosenthal said. This includes sponsorships and partnerships with activity partners.

“Home for the Holidays is a fun way for families to celebrate the season and also helps support our small and independently operated businesses,” Ronsenthal said.

Oktoberfest is scheduled to return in September and Home for the Holidays will be held over the Thanksgiving weekend in November.