Harvest Haus is a German-themed Oktoberfest event that features European beers, food and entertainment not far from BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver.
Harvest Haus Vancouver in 2018
Celebrating its fourth year, Harvest Haus took place last year from October 5th to 14th and was open to the public during seven different sittings at set times. In 2018 the event features five sittings on October 4th to 6th and October 12th and 13th.
The event attracts a crowd of mixed ages, but predominantly in the 25 to 35-age range from what we’ve seen. Everyone from age 19+ to senior citizens though generally have a great time!
Harvest Haus Location & Activities
Harvest Haus used to take place under a Festzelte in the plaza outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, but since 2017 its new venue has been at 88 Pacific Boulevard at Sole Food Street Farms near Concord Pacific Place.
The Festzelte is a giant structure comprised of three or so massive canvas tents that together form a large hall that holds up to a thousand or more people.
The Harvest Haus Setup
Inside the Festzelte are rows of long tables with log stump seating and a stage at the centre for the live entertainment.
At two sides of the great hall are rows of different beer vendors and in different areas inside there are places you can buy a bit of food, souvenirs and gulden (which are the tokens needed for making purchases).
Just outside the Festzelte are about half a dozen or so different food stalls selling German-themed foods. Typical menu items most years include bratwurst and sauerkraut on a bun, pork hocks and pizza.
The atmosphere inside the Festzelte hall is fun and festive, especially as each evening progresses and the place fills up. There are occasional mini skits by entertainers with German accents dressed in lederhosen and other traditional clothing, a band playing lively music, and lots of people with their friends having fun.
New for 2017, there was a place outside the Festzelte where you could practice your axe-throwing skills! It was free, but you first needed to sign a waiver. You could also give your sword-fighting skills a try. 2018 will likely be similar.
At a few of the sittings there are also special events, like on the first Friday when they have “Duelling Arts”, the first Saturday afternoon when they have “Stein Games,” and the second Saturday afternoon when they have a “Lippensynchron Battle.”
Harvest Haus Festival Times
In 2018 Harvest Haus is open to the public at the following five times:
- Thursday, October 4, from 6:00 to 10:30 pm (Grand Opening).
- Friday, October 5, from 6:00 to 10:30 pm (the Duelling Arts).
- Saturday, October 6, from noon until 4:30 pm (Stein Games).
- Saturday, October 6, from 6:00 to 10:30 pm (Ach, Ja! It’s Saturday event).
- Friday, October 12, from 6:00 to 10:30 pm (Zany Mode event).
- Saturday, October 13, from noon until 4:30 pm (Lippensynchron Battle).
- Saturday, October 13, from 6:00 to 10:30 pm (Closing Night).
Harvest Haus Costs
General admission to Harvest Haus was about $35 each evening last year, but $25 for afternoon sittings and the Grand Opening. 2018 will likely be similar.
For the price of admission you usually get access to the Festzelte venue and all the food vendors, beer stalls, live entertainment and festive atmosphere. Food and drinks all cost extra, plus there is the requirement that folk drink out of official Harvest Haus beer steins which helps enhance the experience and cost either $8 or so to keep or about $2 to rent.
VIP tickets are also available and usually cost about $50 in the evenings and $40 in the afternoons. The extra $15 includes a free souvenir beer stein, premium seating and a couple of other perks.
Oktoberfest Food & Beverages
At Harvest Haus folk purchase gulden which are tokens that are then used to buy food and drink. A bag of 10 costs around $20 which works out at $2 per gulden.
Food prices at Harvest Haus range from about 1 gulden to 7, so between $2 and $14. Menu items at the food stalls in past years have included things like pork hocks, bratwurst and sauerkraut on a bun, soups and German pizza, all for between about 4 and 6 gulden each. All are delicious. There are often pretzels, strudels and various other baked goods too.
Beers and ciders cost about 5 gulden each, or around $10. Drinks on tap at the bar in previous years have included Erdinger Weissbrau, Radeberger and Hacker-Pschorr from Germany, as well as Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale (UK), Lagunitas (US) and Parallel 49 (from Vancouver).
For folk who don’t like beer there is apple cider and most likely Jägermeister too which is a German digestif alcohol made with herbs and spices and having a sweet licorice flavour. Some people like it, but not everyone.
NOTE: There is usually a one drink per person limit when purchasing beverages. This is good to know as it means one person can’t stand in the line and then get beers for their friends too – everyone needs to stand in line and order their own drinks!
Tips and Suggestions
TIP #1: This is a popular event so reserve your tickets in advance as many of the sittings sell out. To book online click Harvest Haus Tickets.
TIP #2: This is the kind of event that is the most fun when you go with a large group of friends. As they say, “the more the merrier!”
TIP #3: Wearing traditional lederhosen and dirndl dresses is not required, and most people don’t. If you’re German and you do though, you’ll have more fun and still fit right in. Souvenir clothing is also available for sale at the venue.
TIP #4: $35 or so for admission isn’t inexpensive, especially as food and drink are extra. You’re paying for the atmosphere and the experience though, so it’s worth it. It’s also much cheaper than a trip to Munich! Go with a group of friends, enjoy a few drinks and you’ll probably have a fabulous time. Prost!
For tickets and more information see the Harvest Haus website.
For information on other events in the Lower Mainland this same time of year, see Vancouver’s Calendar of Events.
And for information about other October beer-related festivals similar to Harvest Haus, click Vancouver Oktoberfest Events.