As the summer comes to an end and the cool breeze sweeps in after the setting sun, we're all packing away our shorts and T-shirts and digging out our jeans and sweaters. But just because the weather is cooling down, it doesn't mean festival season is as well in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
While Musikfest and the Allentown Fair were two of the biggest entertainment successes in the region this year, the fall gives festival enthusiasts reason to stay active in the local communities. From corn mazes to haunted hay rides to fall foliage festivals and beyond, the fall has more to offer than Mother Nature's natural act of beautification.
Taking place over a two-weekend period starting Oct. 4, Oktoberfest will be highlighted by a 100-foot by 240-foot Yuengling Festhalle tent at PNC Plaza, which will feature German food, beer, polka music, rock and party bands.
New to this year's festival is the Celebrity Skills Challenge, which will include 10-person teams led by Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, The Morning Call's Bill White, The Express-Times' Dustin Schoof, Lehigh Valley IronPigs' Lindsey Knupp, 99.9 The Hawk's Bill Sheridan, George Wacker of LehighValleywithLove.com and Al Di Carlo and Kristi Fulkerson of Service Electric TV, who will be taking part in a variety of fun games and skill challenges.
Members of the public are invited to take part by registering for a drawing that will be held to select members of the teams. Registrations can be submitted at www.steelstacks.org/oktoberfest through Sept. 22. Each person can register for up to three teams; participants will be chosen at random.
Also returning to this year's festival was the hit of Oktoberfest 2012, the Miss Oktoberfest Competition & Beer Skills Challenge. Starting at noon Oct. 5, the event will feature bars and eateries engaged in an afternoon of hard-fought, fun-filled competition.
Bethlehem's Tally Ho, winner of last year's challenge, will be back to defend its crown against 10 other bars, including J.P. McGrady's, Joe's Tavern, Machs Gute Pub and Grille, Molly's Irish Grille & Sports Pub, P.J. Whelihan's Pub and Restaurant, Pizza Como, Ripper's Pub, Sotto Santi Pizzeria Pub, Starters Clubhouse Grille and The Steel Pub.
At the conclusion of the Bar Skills Challenge, ArtsQuest will crown the second annual Miss Oktoberfest. Members of the public are invited to visit www.steelstacks.org/oktoberfest through Sept. 29 to learn more about all of this year's Miss Oktoberfest candidates and cast their votes for their favorite fraulein.
Along with the other events, there will be Oktoberfest games such as barrel rolling, beer pours, stein race relays and more. Also, the first 350-500 people in the gates each day will receive a free gift from ArtsQuest.
Six day pass: $20 for ArtsQuest members, $25 public.
Single day admission: $7 for ArtsQuest members, $10 public.
Children 6-12: Free for ArtsQuest members, $3 public.
Children under 6: Free admission.
Fridays: 5 p.m. – midnight
Saturdays: Noon – midnight
Sundays: Noon – 8 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased via www.steelstacks.org/oktoberfest