Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own.
McKinney Oktoberfest is just around the corner (September 25-27) and I for one could not be more excited! Perhaps it’s because this is the first time in seven years I will be enjoying an Oktoberfest festival as an actual patron rather than one of the event producers.
If you don’t know, my background in event planning included overseeing McKinney Oktoberfest and Addison Oktoberfest (at different times). I no longer coordinate any Oktoberfest events, but that is okay because now I can attend them as a patron with my family and friends. I have no doubt that the event is in great hands with my fellow colleagues!
Here are 10 McKinney Oktoberfest Insider Tips to make your event going experience more enjoyable:
1. Avoid the ticket lines and plan ahead
You can purchase them now online or by visiting the McKinney Performing Arts Center Emerson Ticket Office, Market Street (McKinney location) or Sheraton McKinney (Cash or Credit Only). The McKinney Oktoberfest event has FREE admission so you don’t have to spend money on an entry pass. (Look on the bright side: one less line to wait in and more money in your wallet to spend!)
If you are worried that you may purchase too many tickets and not be able to use them please continue reading along to Tip #2 below…
2. Save your unused food & beverage tickets to use for future events
Sounds too good to be true, but it is TRUE! Similar to Addison’s Oktoberfest, you can also use your unused tickets to future Downtown McKinney events that are sponsored by McKinney Main Street (if they are using tickets for concession sales). Put them in a safe place and save them for next year’s Oktoberfest because you know you will be back again!
3. Attend the festival on Sunday
Last year, the event organizers decided to add Sunday to the festival. At first, we were weary of adding another day not knowing if anyone would attend, but guess what, they did and it was comfortable and easy going day. The lines weren’t as long and you could actually push your stroller around without bumping into five other derby strolling mommas. Yes, there are a ton of strollers at the McKinney Oktoberfest because it is highly family-friendly contrary to popular belief.
4. Take advantage of special Oktoberfest hotel rates and book a stay
Make a weekend staycation out of your Oktoberfest experience. There are some great Oktoberfest hotel rates happening right here.
5. Attend the Keg Tapping Opening Ceremony on Friday evening
This is a great way to meet the brewmasters from Franconia, witness the authentic German keg tapping ceremony and perhaps leave with a FREE Oktoberfest stein that Franconia has been known to hand out (with beer inside)! This event takes place Friday, September 25 at 6 p.m. at the Main Stage.
6. Explore all the variety of food and beverage offerings
At this year’s event, patrons will be able to enjoy more of a variety of beers including Franconia, Tupps, St. Arnolds, Real Ale, Karbach, Spaten, Paulaner and Houfbrau. Also, there will not be a shortage of delicious German cuisines. Local favorites such as Patina Green Home and Market and Local Yocal Farm to Market will be on site preparing one-of-a-kind cuisines. Check out the entire Oktoberfest food & drink menu.
7. Beer is a big part of the festival, but it isn’t the end all being! Explore all the fun family activities!
There will be so many more activities other than beer drinking. For example, this year a Carnival is bringing 10-15 new rides for the entire family to enjoy! There will be weenie dog races and beir barrel races to witness numerous times a day! If you love cars, check out the Volktoberfest Car Show on starting at 7 am on Saturday and dance along to AUTHENTIC German live music.
8. Use the event shuttle or educate yourself on the parking in Downtown McKinney before heading out the door
Before you show up, do your homework on where to park in Downtown McKinney or where the shuttle drop off and pick up locations are. Nothing is more annoying than starting your festival experience off in a bad mood because you spent an hour trying to park.
There are several PARK FOR FREE lots other than the obvious ones that you can use. I like to park next to the Fire Station off of Highway 5. Always enter the festival from Highway 5 as entering through Interstate 75 can be a headache especially since it’s currently under construction. (Note that Rick’s Chophouse and The Grand Hotel offer valet to their customers, so why not eat dinner at Ricks or stay in a hotel to gain access to this amazing service that is well worth it!)
Free parking is also available at the Sheraton Hotel, 1900 Gateway Blvd. in McKinney and First Baptist Church at 1615 W. Louisiana St., McKinney. Free shuttles run frequently from both locations throughout the event.
When all else fails, make friends with someone who lives in the Historic District, so you can park at their house and walk to the event! Please look both ways before crossing the historic streets though! (I am not kidding, some people ‘forget’ to stop at the intersections!)
9. Shop Local at Downtown McKinney Businesses
Don’t forget to patronize the local Downtown McKinney shops and restaurants that offer a unique and quaint backdrop to the event. A few businesses will have the ability to sell Oktoberfest food and beverage coupons to elevate congestion at the ticket booths (TBA).
10. Attend (or win tickets to) the Meet the Brewmaster session
Sign up or enter to win tickets below to attend the McKinney Oktoberfest Meet the Brewmaster event. The program not only teaches you how they make the wonderful Oktoberfest beer you are enjoying, but provides you with an entire Oktoberfest merchandise line up including an official event t-shirt, stein, and $15 Food & Beverage tickets to use during the event.
McKinney Oktoberfest Behind the Brats Video
In case you are curious how the planning process works. It’s definitely a team effort!
Enter to Win (2) tickets to the Meet the Brewmaster package at the McKinney Oktoberfest (Retail Value: $70)
- (2) Meet the Brewmaster Packages which include:
- 30 Food & Beverage Tickets
- (2) Official Oktoberfest T-shirt
- (2) Commemorative Oktoberfest Stein
- (2 tickets) Beer Sampling event during McKinney Oktoberfest with a Brewmaster.
Instructions and tickets will be mailed out a week prior to the event. Learn more about the craft beer served at McKinney Oktoberfest! The Brewmaster Sessions are held inside the McKinney Performing Arts Center. Must be 21 to attend.