About us

Peoria Oktoberfest: a brief local history.

In an effort to assist in the development of the RiverFront, the Peoria Park District took on the challenge of creating high quality, family-oriented events that would benefit the Peoria area and enhance the quality of life within the community.

The Peoria Park District and German-American Central Society united their efforts in 1996 to bring the first of the “signature events” planned for the RiverFront. Peoria’s Oktoberfest” is the Midwestern equivalent of the Munich Oktoberfest.

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is the world’s longest-running wedding celebration. It began with the Royal Wedding on 12 October 1810.

Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were renamed Theresienwiese (“Theres’a Fields”) to honor the Crown Princess, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to “Wiesn”. The closing ceremony at the Theresienwiese included a horse race and a veritable feast for the whole of Bavaria; the following year the decision to repeat the horse races gave rise to the origin of the Oktoberfest tradition. It is here that the history of the Oktoberfest tradition begins, an annual celebration that since then, punctuates the life of Munich and Germany, as a permanent and punctual fixture, except on 24 occasions when it was cancelled due to wars or epidemics.  (source: www.oktoberfest.net/history-oktoberfest/)

Who are we?

The Peoria Park District and German-American Central Society have combined forces to organize and produce Oktoberfest.

Where is it?

Oktoberfest is held on Peoria’s beautiful RiverFront, encompassing Festival Park and Marshall Plaza.

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