Organizers get ready for St. Charles County Oktoberfest

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV) - Jason Gregory with Sudwerk Brewing out of California cracks open a beer to signal the sign of a good time – the arrival of St. Charles’ Oktoberfest.

“Oh man, it’s one of the biggest in the nation,” Gregory said.

Gregory said he hopes to make $90,000 in beer sales over the three-day weekend from September 23-25. He’s volunteering his time to fundraise for the Cottleville-Weldon Springs Chamber of Commerce. If all goes to plan, he hopes to give $12,000.

“The weather this weekend looks incredible and probably will be one of the best ever I’d say,” Gregory said.

Thousands of people are expected to head to Oktoberfest in St. Charles this weekend. The festival is in its 36th year.

Organizers anticipate their biggest crowd yet after years of pandemic restrictions weighed on the event.

“It literally took my dad one trip to Germany and said we are doing a disservice for Oktoberfest,” St. Charles Oktoberfest Board Member Justin Foust shared. “We helped build this thing where we get people around the country to visit.”

“We don’t get anything for doing this,” Event Chair Dan Foust said.

This massive event has six tents with beer, food, and entertainment. Visitors can enjoy 28 musical acts, visit 80 vendors, and indulge in 25 different types of beer. Organizers on Thursday said Oktoberfest means millions of dollars in revenue for St. Charles businesses.

“I know if you check with the hotels, they are full,” Foust, who is chairing his 17th Oktoberfest, explained. “Check with restaurants and bars within a half mile, they are full.”

Main Street business owner Joe Ancmon said he expects his restaurants to profit $75,000 extra because of the festival.

“I’m okay with that,” Ancmon shared. “This is one of the few festivals that works with us, the individual businesses and restaurants.”

In three days, 150,000 people will pour into Frontier Park. They will drink more than 1,300 kegs of beer. An event this large is possible because of more than 1,000 volunteers raising money for a good cause.

Everyone working the festival is a volunteer. Just last year, $200,000 in revenue went back to those groups.

“Every group you see pick up trash, beer sales, ID bracelets, everyone who walks in is carded. That all goes back to these volunteer groups,” Justin Foust said.

The festival also matches a $1,000 donation to each charity.

The rest goes toward operating costs for the next year.

For Gregory, that level of outreach helps make this St. Charles staple so special.

“It’s like all brand new because the last few years we didn’t have these things,” Gregory explained. “This is truly amazing, a lot of great feelings for everybody.”

Sunday has a focus on mental wellness and suicide prevention. The festival is teaming up with” The End is Near, So Let’s Drink Beer” to raise money for three nonprofits, the Liam Michael Foundation, Light Project STL, and Kaufman Foundation, which focuses on veterans. On top of that, every beer vendor has decided to donate tips to charity, focused on mental health organizations of their choosing.

For anyone wanting to learn more information about this year’s event, including how to donate to this year’s special causes, click here to head to the St. Charles Oktoberfest official website.