German-themed beer festivals take place in the Lower Mainland each fall including Oktoberfest events in Vancouver, Surrey and elsewhere.
There is also the Harrison Beer Festival and Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week. In addition to these, the BC Cancer Association hosts an Oktoberfest fundraising event in Abbotsford some years.
OKTOBERFEST IN 2020
NOTE: Most major Oktoberfest events have been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. This includes the Oktoberfest celebrations at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Instead of running a live in-person event this year that venue is offering Oktoberfest Takeout Packages that include beer, schnitzel and festive decorations for you to enjoy at home.
The Alpen Club is located at 4875 Victoria Drive. The Oktoberfest Takeout Packages can be ordered online and then picked up on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays up until the end of October in 2020. Click Oktoberfest Vancouver for details.
Click any of the following for information about a specific event venue:
Oktoberfest Events in the Lower Mainland
Oktoberfest is a German festival traditionally held in late September and early October. The largest and most famous Oktoberfest in the world is the one in Munich, Germany, but ones in Metro Vancouver are pretty fun too!
Oktoberfest events invariably involve copious amounts of beer as well as German-style pub foods like sausages and sauerkraut, not to mention German accordion and polka music. If you like beer and/or dressing up in lederhosen, then Oktoberfest can be a lot of fun!
Vancouver Oktoberfest Events
Below is a list of Oktoberfest events in the Lower Mainland that take place most years. Most are not happening in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully they will be back again though in 2021.
Oktoberfest at the Vancouver Alpen Club
The Vancouver Alpen Club is a local cultural organization at 4875 Victoria Drive. They host an Oktoberfest event and boast the largest selection of German beers and wines in Vancouver. The event is for folk ages 19+ and, as should be expected, it features German beer, food and music.
General admission for the Vancouver Alpen Club event is usually about $35 plus taxes, or $80 for VIP tickets which includes access to a designated area with a complimentary buffet. Beer and other festive drinks are extra.
Dates for the club’s Oktoberfest Vancouver event in 2019 were the Fridays and Saturdays of October 4th & 5th, 11th & 12th, 18th & 19th and the 25th. Doors opened at 7:30 pm. The event is not happening in 2020, due to COVID-19. The venue is, however, offering a special Oktoberfest Takeout Package.
In years when the event does take place, activities include beer drinking (of course), dancing, singing, German games and the optional wearing of lederhosen and other traditional German attire. Performers at Oktoberfest Vancouver most years include the Alpen Plattlers dance group and the band The Continentals.
The Vancouver Alpen Club venue has a capacity of about 350 people and most years each of the nights sells out (although a small number of tickets are still usually available at the door).
For more information or to buy tickets for this event, click Oktoberfest Vancouver.
Cloverfest in Surrey
Cloverfest is a fundraising Oktoberfest event in Surrey that’s put on by the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce and the Cloverdale Rotary Club.
In 2018 the event took place on Saturday, October 13th, from 4 until 9 pm at Shannon Hall at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. The address was 17607 60th Avenue in Surrey.
Cloverfest did not happen in 2019 and it isn’t happening again in 2020. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it can take place again in 2021!
Tickets for Cloverfest in 2018 were $25 in advance, $40 for VIP tickets and $35 for regular admission at the door. The price for general admission included 2 beverage-tasting tokens, a souvenir sampling cup and a fun evening with live music. VIP admission included 10 beverage tasting tokens, a sampling cup, priority line access and a fun evening with live music.
For more information click Cloverfest.
Harrison Beer Festival
The Harrison Beer Festival is a community event that takes place in late October at St. Alice Hall beside the Harrison Hot Springs Resort at 100 Esplanade Avenue. The popular 2-day event includes a Cask Night, Beer Festival and Oktoberfest Dance.
In 2019 the Harrison Beer Festival took place on the Friday and Saturday of October 25th and 26th. It looks like the event is still scheduled to occur in 2020, although in a different format from usual. The plan for the event this year is simply for beer companies to partner with area restaurants. See the official event website further below though for exact details and the most up-to-date information.
Friday Cask Night
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, the festival usually features a Cask Night on the Friday evening. This part of the festival will not be happening in 2020.
Celebrating its 9th year in 2019, Harrison Beer Festival celebrations included an Irish-themed Cask Night on the Friday from 6:30 to 10:30 pm. Music that night was with the Celtic band Blackthorn.
Tickets for the event are usually around $34 and include a tasting glass, 3 beverage tokens, a buffet and live music. Additional tokens cost about $1.50 each.
At the event 8 to 10 different breweries usually compete to see whose beer is most popular (as proven by whose keg gets finished first).
Saturday Beer Festival
Also at St. Alice Hall, usually on the last Saturday in October, the Beer Festival takes place between 1 and 5 pm (or at least it does in years when the coronavirus isn’t a concern). At the event, BC breweries sell samples of their brews and compete for people’s votes. Tickets cost about $38 last year.
Attendees receive a complimentary beer tasting glass, three beverage tokens, access to a light buffet and the opportunity to sample dozens of craft beers at about $1.50 per mini glass. The Saturday event is so popular that it typically sells out over a month in advance!
Breweries participating a couple of years ago at the event included Central City from Surrey, Dead Frog from Aldergrove, Deep Cove Brewery from North Vancouver, Foamers Folly from Pitt Meadows, Moody Ales and Yellow Dog from Port Moody, and Parallel 49 and Main St. Brewing from Vancouver, as well as about a dozen others.
NOTE: Tickets for the Saturday Beer Festival event in recent years have sold out well in advance! If you want to attend in 2019, reserve your tickets early! Also, this part if the festival will not be happening in 2020.
In years when there isn’t a pandemic, the Oktoberfest Dance at Harrison Hot Springs takes place on the last Saturday in October at St. Alice Hall at 100 Esplanade Avenue.
The event ran from 8:00 until 11:30 pm in 2019 and the cost was around $46 per person.
At the Oktoberfest Dance there is dancing to polka music (not surprisingly), and a German-themed buffet. Participants also receive a complimentary souvenir Oktoberfest mug and one free beer.
Note: The Oktoberfest Dance will not be happening in 2020.
For more information about the Cask Night, Beer Festival and Oktoberfest Dance, check out the Harrison Beer Festival website.
Oktoberfest for the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society
The Oktoberfest fundraising event for the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society took place on Friday, October 18th, 2019, starting at 6 pm at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall. The event likely doesn’t take place in 2020, although its current status is to be confirmed.
Tickets purchased prior to August 31st last year cost $50 and then regular price after that was $60. They could be purchased online at ridgemeadowshospicesociety.com, at the Thrift Shop at 3-12001 124th Street or by calling 604-463-7722.
In years when it does take place, the event includes a traditional German dinner, costume contests, a 50-50 draw and music by the Oktoberators. Proceeds from the event benefit the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society which is a great cause.
For more information see the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society website.
Oktoberfest at Hastings Racecourse
Oktoberfest celebrations often take place on a Saturday at Hastings Racecourse from noon until 6 pm. In 2019 it happened on Saturday, September 28th, from 1 to 6 pm in the Eclipse Lounge. Because of COVID-19, the event isn’t happening this year (and as of early September 2020, the entire venue is actually closed to the public).
In years when it does take place, this event is for adults age 19+ and includes beer, food, horse racing and music.
Tickets in 2018 cost about $50. Tickets in 2019 cost around $33 including online fees. For that you got a souvenir beer stein, 2 drink tickets, 1 food voucher, $5 to bet and access to the live horse racing.
With your ticket in 2019 you also got access to a couple of exclusive Oktoberfest sitting areas. One was the German Haus where there is live music, a selection of sausages and a variety of craft beers (including a pumpkin one) for sale. The other area was the Wine Haus where you could find wine for purchase.
The venue for the Oktoberfest event is the Hastings Racecourse at the PNE at 188 North Renfrew Street which you can get to via Gate 6 or Gate 9.
For more details about the event and venue, see the Hastings Racecourse website.
Oktoberfest at the Shipyards
North Shore Green Markets sometimes hosts an Oktoberfest event at the Shipyards in North Vancouver. In 2018 it was tentatively scheduled for October 19th, but then didn’t actually take place. The year before about 200 people attended. It didn’t happen in 2019 however, and likely won’t happen again in 2020.
Although there wasn’t an “Oktoberfest” event at the Shipyards in 2018 or 2019, North Vancouver still hosted Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week. 2019 dates for the North Shore craft beer event ran from October 4th until the 11th. 2020 details are to be confirmed, although we’re guessing a major event likely won’t be happening. Individual bars and restaurants, however, might still offer something.
Vancouver Harvest Haus
Harvest Haus used to be Vancouver’s largest and arguably most impressive Oktoberfest event. It took place most years in a giant tent “Festzelte” structure that held up to 1000 people and featured German food, beer, live music and other entertainment. It did not, however, take place in 2018. It was back though, and even bigger and better in 2019. Because of COVID-19 though, it isn’t happening again in 2020.
A few years ago the Festzelte venue was near Concord Pacific Place at 88 Pacific Boulevard not far from BC Place Stadium. That location is no longer available, however. They found a new venue for their future events, but not in time for the 2018 season, which is why they took a break that year. In 2019 the new venue was at the PNE fairgrounds.
In past years tickets have cost between $25 and $35 for general admission, with food and beers costing extra.
In 2019 the event ran on October 10th-12th and 18th-19th. Tickets cost between $26 and $52 depending on when you went and the type of ticket you got. Tickets to Harvest Haus get you into the adult-only drinking area, but also into the kid-friendly Harvestland areas too.
New for 2019, in addition to the Harvest Haus beer-drinking event for folk ages 19+, there was also a Harvestland autumn-themed attraction that was suitable for families. It was open every day between October 10th and 20th except for Tuesdays (when it was closed).
Also new for last year was the fact that there wasn’t a Festzelte. Instead the event took place inside the PNE Forum which was decorated to look like a beer hall.
Tickets to Harvestland last year cost $15.74 for adults and $10.49 for both children (ages 3 to 12) and seniors (age 65+). It also cost $47.24 for families (of up to 2 adults and 3 children).
For more information about the Vancouver Oktoberfest event, click Harvest Haus.
For a list of other things to do in the Lower Mainland check out the following:
- Vancouver’s October Calendar of Events
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar
- Halloween in the Lower Mainland
- Fall Activities in the Lower Mainland
- Vancouver’s Best Places in Autumn