Are you ready for this weekend’s Oktoberfest Newport?

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Oans, zwoa, drei, gsuffa!

That’s German for “One, two, three, drink!” and you may recognize the words because they are part of a very popular Oktoberfest song.

You’ll be able to sing it all you want at Oktoberfest Newport, which is returning to Newport on the Levee from Sept. 23 to 25.

Oktoberfest Newport beer mugs. Photo provided | Cold Iron Event Rentals

The Music

If you have ever been to Reds Opening Day at Great American Ball Park, a party at Music Hall, a festival at Newport on the Levee, or an event at many other local venues, you are probably familiar with the Pete Wagner Band. The popular local band, led by Paul Wagner, often plays at the Levee and will be performing at Oktoberfest Newport.

“I’m very happy to be back and part of this traditional event,” Paul Wagner said.

The Pete Wagner Band plays German and Italian songs in English. They also play Irish songs, Dixieland, Great American Songbook, big band, jazz, and some classic rock.

The Pete Wagner Band perennially performs at Oktoberfest celebrations. Photo provided | Paul Wagner

The Pete Wagner band was established in 1954 and quickly became one of the most popular bands in the area. They have performed for thousands of weddings, festivals, and corporate, private, and public events.

Pete’s son, Paul J. Wagner, joined the band in 1983 and became its leader in 1986. Paul’s paternal grandparents were from Hautsfeld, Germany, and came by boat in the late 1890s. His maternal grandparents came from Italy. Paul performs at many different venues and festivals, but Oktoberfest seems to be special to him.

“I became a professional musician at the age of 18 and my first gig was touring Europe with an R&B band,” Wagner said. “Then then I enlisted in this US Army Band in 1968. I started my own R&B band in 1971. I joined my dad‘s band in 1983. The Pete Wagner band was noted for German and Italian and ethnic music. That was my first venture into playing a ton of polkas and waltzes. During Oktoberfest people really get into the whole experience by dressing in their lederhosen and drindle, and enjoying the wonderful German cuisine. I believe that is what makes Oktoberfest different than all other festivals that I play.”

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The Paul Wagner Band will not be the only musical entertainers at Oktoberfest. Festivalgoers will also enjoy music from other local German bands. Bier Her Mini Band, Die Vereins Musikanten, K and the Bergstrasse Band, The Festmeisters, Pillersee Sound, Shmittie Schnapps Band, and the Matt Talentino German Band are all scheduled to perform.

The origin

Newport, home to Hofbrahaus, is a very appropriate city in which to host an Oktoberfest celebration. All the festivities will be held under one tent just like they do in Germany at the Munich Oktoberfest. Admission is free.

Oktoberfest is an annual festival in Munich, Germany, that is held over two weeks and ends on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on Oct. 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Food being cooked at last year’s Newport Oktoberfest. Photo provided | Cold Iron Event Rentals

The festival evolved into a 16 to 18-day beer and folk festival and it spread all over Germany and, eventually, the world.

The food

Local food vendors, including Mick Noll’s from Covington, will sell brats, Bavarian sausages, currywurst, hot dogs, Reuben sandwiches, Goetta, Limburgers, Oktoberfest pretzels, Bavarian cream puffs, German pastries, funnel cakes, apple and cherry strudel, and other foods.

Vendors at Oktoberfest Newport will sell a variety of German foods, such as Bavarian cream puffs. Photo provided | Cold Iron Event Rentals

Merchants will also vend beer from Warsteiner, Miller Lite, and Braxton Brewing Company. If you want to drink authentic German beer, Warsteiner Beer Brewery was founded in 1753 in Germany.

The Cramer family has owned and managed the company, which is based in Westphalia, for nine generations.

If you want to drink a local beer, Braxton Brewing Company has locations in Covington and Cincinnati.

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Last year’s Oktoberfest Newport festivalgoers holding up their beer mugs. Photo provided | Cold Iron Event Rentals

There will be yodeling, brat toss, chicken dancing, Hammerschlagen, beer stein holding, and log sawing contests.

If you go

Oktoberfest Newport
Newport Festival Park
Riverboat Row, Newport
Hours: Friday, September 23 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 24 from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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