LEAVENWORTH — There will be two Oktoberfests next October. One in Leavenworth and another in Wenatchee.
Leavenworth’s annual Oktoberfest, as many know it, did not return this year and will not be back next year.
Projekt Bayern, which has planned Oktoberfest for the Bavarian-themed town in years past, is moving its 2022 event to the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee.
The city of Leavenworth, after putting out event proposal requests, has chosen to work with SE Productions to put on its own Oktoberfest next year.
The departure of Projekt Bayern’s annual Oktoberfest event from Leavenworth came after the city sought changes to the festival.
Leavenworth Mayor Carl Florea said the 2022 event will have a “smaller footprint,” with some festivities spread out across the week to reduce crowding.
Steve Lord, Projekt Bayern’s Oktoberfest committee chairman, believes changes Leavenworth is making as they create a new Oktoberfest in town will end in failure. “Our organization refuses to be involved with something that is going to be unsuccessful.”
“They’ve now allowed a group ... to come in and steal our business,” said Lord. “I don’t believe the city had the right to do it.”
Visitors of Projekt Bayern’s Oktoberfest in Wenatchee can expect to see the Oktoberfest of years past with live music and German beer. One new addition to Projekt Bayern’s event will be a carnival with rides and games.
A shuttle service between Wenatchee and Leavenworth will also be available.
The Town Toyota Center is only a temporary home for Projekt Bayern’s event. Lord said the festival ultimately should be in Leavenworth, but that it will not return unless Leavenworth “smartens up.”
Mayor Florea sees the changes in the town’s new Oktoberfest as a good thing for the community as a whole.
The festival has previously taken place on October weekends but the city is aiming to have weekday events as well, he said.
The 2022 Leavenworth festival, while still in its planning stages, will be different but still share many of the tradition elements as previous events.,
The aim is to feature local breweries and bring in more family focused activities as well as spread out festivities across town instead of mainly at the town’s Festhalle, the mayor said.
Music and drinks will still be available like before, although the focus this time is local, “that’s what we’re about,” he said.
“We’re not going dry here, we’re going to have the beer, we’re going to have an Oktoberfest-like event … but maybe just not as huge.”