Fun, food and entertainment at annual celebration

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The Chicken Dance is a popular activity at the Great Northwest Oktoberfest.

Another Whitefish summer is finally in the books. The weather’s getting cooler, the leaves are turning color and the insanity of summer has quieted down a bit. But not too much because it’s Oktoberfest time in Whitefish!

Time to crown a new Hop Queen, tap a few (hundred) kegs, do the Chicken Dance, saw a few logs and enjoy brats, beer and Bavarian-style hospitality that’s unlike any you’ll find this side of Munich.

The ninth annual Great Northwest Oktoberfest is set for Sept. 27 through Oct. 6 in downtown Whitefish. Seven nights and two days of authentic Bavarian food, drink, music and dancing, and the wildest array of audience participation contests that the Flathead Valley has ever seen!

Three great bands will provide non-stop oompah, polka, waltz, western swing, classic rock and other great dance music throughout the festival, with one of America’s most sought after Oktoberfest bands — Europa — entertaining the masses each night Sept. 27-29.

The following week, Canada’s polka legends, The Western Senators, will play under the Oktoberfest Bigtop on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and will also make an appearance at the Firebrand Hotel on Wednesday, Oct. 3 for the 2018 Hop Queen Qualifiers. On Saturday afternoons it’s the Bavarian Echoes, the Flathead’s own Bavarian brass band.

Kids’ Day at


On Saturday Sept. 29 will be Kids’ Day at Oktoberfest, so bring out the whole family for a great fall afternoon of family-style fun co-hosted by the Whitefish Parks Department. There will be a bounce house for the young’uns to explore, a climbing wall, face-painting, the Kids’ Chicken Dancing Championships on the main dance floor, and other activities geared toward the young and the young-at-heart.

Volunteers from Project Whitefish Kids will be behind the Hofbrau Bar that afternoon, so be generous with your servers as your tips will be put to good use.

Ride Whitefish Trail to


On Thursday, Oct. 4 will be “Whitefish Trail Night” at Oktoberfest, with a portion of the gate proceeds benefiting Whitefish Legacy Partners, the nonprofit group that spearheads development of the Whitefish Trail system. A crew of volunteers from Legacy Partners will be manning the bar that night so make sure you tip big. And while you’re there, sign-up for the Whitefish Trail Legacy Run, which is set for Sunday, Oct. 7.

Hop Queen

Also set for Thursday Oct. 4 at 9 p.m. is the crowning of the 2019 Hop Queen, accompanied by all of the pomp and circumstance befitting the coronation of the Royal Matriarch of Oktoberfest.

For details on the event or to throw your crown in the ring for the Hop Queen pageant call the Whitefish Chamber at 862-3501, or visit


The Great Northwest Oktoberfest takes place in Depot Park, at the corner of Central Avenue and Railway Street in downtown Whitefish.

Admission to Oktoberfest is just $5 for adults, with kids under 12 accompanied by parents absolutely free. And don’t worry about the weather — come sunshine, rain, sleet or snow, it’ll be warm and toasty under the climate-controlled Oktoberfest Bigtop.

For more information, call the Whitefish Chamber at (406) 862-3501, or check out the event website at

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