Drinking in Lagers in Lawrence: Lawrence gears up for its fifth annual Octoberfest celebration

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For the fifth consecutive year, the City of Lawrence will put its own spin on celebration of German heritage with its annual Lagers in Lawrence Octoberfest. The event is set from 2-6 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Fort Ben Cultural Campus, 8950 Otis Ave., in Lawrence.

Lawrence has partnered with Indiana On Tap, an Indiana craft beer and spirits marketing and events company, to present the event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. General admission tickets are $40, and VIP tickets are $45. VIP tickets allow early entry at 2 p.m. General admission entry begins at 3 p.m. Advance sale tickets are available until Sept. 24. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the gate, at a cost of $45 for general admission and $50 for VIP tickets.

Justin Knepp, managing partner of Indiana on Tap, said Lagers in Lawrence is one of the largest Octoberfest celebrations in central Indiana.

Ticket purchases include unlimited drinks with a choice of more than 100 kinds of craft beer from more than 35 craft breweries, wineries and distilleries. Food vendors will be on-site selling a variety of German specialties.

The festival will feature activities and entertainment, including a DJ, a band, stein-holding contest and a weiner dog race. The DJ will play a variety of newer music as well as traditional Polka music. The band, Liederkranz Brass Band, a 15-piece authentic German band, will perform from 3-5 p.m. There will also be performances throughout the day of classic German dance routines by the Fort Wayne Tanzer Dance Group.

Attendees can watch 50 “dachshunds of all shapes and sizes from around central Indiana” compete in the second “Running of the Weiners” race, with winners moving on to a championship race to compete for the title of “Fastest Weiner.”

The “masskrugstemmen,” or stein-holding contest, will take place toward the end of the day with a select number of attendees competing. The contest rules are simple: Hold a one-liter stein of beer out at shoulder level for as long as possible. Prizes and trophies are awarded to the winners. Knepp said the feat of endurance and strength is surprisingly difficult and many contestants do not make it much past one minute.

Although tasting cups will be provided, attendees are encouraged to bring their own stein to enjoy the variety of drinks from their own mug in larger samples.

Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier said the celebration of German culture is an ideal way to attract visitors to the city.

“One of the really cool things about this event is that it tends to bring people from all parts of the state to Lawrence, and these people get to see the varieties of amenities offered by the city,” Collier said.

Knepp agreed, and also noted the event’s economic boost for the city.

“While it’s an event that the community gets excited about every year, it’s also an event that brings a lot of people outside of the community in for the day,” Knepp said. “People within the community have a lot of fun at the event, but it also generates a really nice single-day economic impact for the city as well because you get a lot of people who are coming in, who are going to stay and go out to restaurants and go shopping. They’re going to spend the day in and around Lawrence, and so it’s really good for the city in that aspect as well.”

Not surprisingly, Lagers in Lawrence is an event Knepp anually looks forward to.

“It’s more than just about the beers,” Knepp said. “(It’s about) people getting together enjoying what’s usually a really great fall afternoon. So, I just really look forward to seeing a lot of people coming into Lawrence and having a great time for the day.”

For more or for tickets, visit lagersinlawrence.com.

Lagers in Lawrence Octoberfest will feature more than 35 craft beer, winery and distillery vendors. A sample of vendors include:

  • Triton Brewing in Lawrence
  • Four Day Ray Brewing in Fishers
  • Vodka Squeeze in Carmel
  • Field Brewing in Westfield
  • Cardinal Spirits – Bloomington
  • Circle City Zymurgy in Indianapolis
  • 2Toms Brewing in Fort Wayne
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