The Sadness that is Chicago’s Oktoberfest

Chicago’s Oktoberfest has come and gone, and if you blinked — you missed it. It was held for two days at Federal Plaza (77 West Jackson Street) in the Loop and was a sparsely attended affair. Just a few rows of stand-up tables, and a long tent selling pretzels, beer, and brats. No offense is intended to those who organized it when I give it a “Whoop-de-freakin’-do” rating.

Chicago's Loop Octoberfest 2009Not that long ago, Chicago had an epic Oktoberfest celebration. Think Ferris Beuler’s parade. But those days ended just before I got to Chicago. People I worked with told me it was because the organizers couldn’t get insurance for the parade. Somehow the Mexicans and the Irish and a dozen other nationalities can get insurance, but the Germans can’t? Do the insurance companies fear the parade will invade Avondale? It all sounds preposterous to me. I suspect it’s more likely the apathy that comes with total assimilation that killed Oktoberfest, and not any financial constraint.

Chicago's Loop Octoberfest 2009

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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