We didn’t know if the October weather would ever feel like fall, but the cooler temperatures finally arrived just in time to celebrate a 40-year Tulsa tradition – Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa.
Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa has been named one of the top five best Oktoberfest celebrations in the country by USA Today. Conde Nast Travel says it’s a “must visit” fall event. Lucky for Tulsa, we don’t have to travel far to get there.
An army of volunteers starts building the venue for the festival nearly three weeks before opening night. You may have never thought about it before, but when you stop to consider the size of the festival, it makes sense. Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa is built from the ground up. Tents, flooring, electricity, decoration and every little detail to make the event fun for those who attend, all of it has to be brought in to the site. It took five Miller Freight Trucks to deliver the tables. It’s a massive undertaking, but for the volunteers, it is a passion. They are family. We were honored they let us in.
Before we began our project this year, I thought I knew Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa. I was clueless. I’ve attended the event many times; however, it wasn’t until I sat in the meetings and listened to stories of the rich history and logistics that I really understood.
This year, the festival is celebrating its 40th year. Starting in 1979, the event was born simply because Tulsa needed to fill a gap in the festival calendar for October.
Jerry Muratore, one of the founders of the event, was working for a local television station and was looking for new opportunities for sponsorship and promotion. He teamed up with the River Parks Authority and got to work.
Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa is operated by Tulsa Oktoberfest, Inc. This nonprofit group raises money to fund the next festival, donates thousands to local organizations through its volunteer program and each year donates tens-of-thousands to Tulsa River Parks Authority.
Over five days, Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa hosts more than 60,000 people each year. The volunteers take the safety and security of the attendees very seriously. They are laser focused on making sure the festival runs smoothly and safely for everyone who comes to raise a glass and celebrate German culture.
Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa’s commitment to honoring Bavarian culture through music, dance, market goods, art, and language make it one of the nation’s best Oktoberfest events. But it’s the Event Management Team that makes it special. Most of the people on this committee have been a part of it for more than a decade. Plenty of the committee members boast of two decades of service. There are second-generation volunteers who grew up in the mud and grass of the west bank, who serve on the committee now. There is no glory in their work. They are the sweat and muscle behind the event.
You may never know their names, that’s not why they do it. But if you have been to Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa, you know their work. It’s to them that we owe this amazing fall celebration. It’s to the volunteers we raise our glass.