Arts & Entertainment

Festival brings German culture to Frankford

The modern German beer garden in Fishtown held its largest Oktoberfest Sept. 19.

On a busy Fishtown street, Frankford Hall was alive with music and dance in a celebration of German culture during its annual Oktoberfest block party.

In business since 2011, Joshua Mann said Frankford Hall is not a typical sports bar.

“We want it to mean everything to everybody, both children and adults,” said general manager and 2007  Tourism and Hospitality Management alumnus, Joshua Mann.

Fishtown provided an “eclectic space with good organic growth” to open Frankford Hall, Mann said. As the tradition of Oktoberfest became popular throughout Philadelphia, the venue started throwing an authentic Oktoberfest, inspired by the city of Munich, Germany.

Every year the event has gotten bigger and better, Mann said.

For the first time, this year’s Oktoberfest was held in a 200-foot tent similar to the ones used at festival’s in Munich.

“At Oktoberfest in Munich, 14 beer tents are placed to hold 5,000 people each, it’s a sea of people. That was our vision for this year’s event,” Mann said.

Petra Artz (left), and Isaac Babik enjoy Frankford Hall’s Oktoberfest. | Patrick Clark TTN

Petra Artz (left), and Isaac Babik enjoy Frankford Hall’s Oktoberfest. | Patrick Clark TTN

This year’s Oktoberfest also featured the addition of a 100-foot bar that sold authentic German beer, including ales from Paulaner Brewery.

Oktoberfest at Frankford Hall is a free event for children and adults. Children enjoyed the carnival atmosphere with games of basketball, skeeball, pony rides and music. The menu, inspired by German street food, included Bavarian pretzels, bratwursts and roasted peanuts.

Attendees, including neighborhood resident Petra Artz, celebrated their German culture by wearing the traditional dirndl and lederhosen. The dirndl is a woman’s working dress consisting of a close-fitting bodice and a colorful, patterned full skirt. Men wear lederhosen, leather shorts with suspenders.

“Everyone wears the dirndl or lederhosen,” Artz said of German Oktoberfests. “They know you are American if you are not wearing one.”

Having the opportunity to live in Germany for a year, Artz experienced the roots of Oktoberfest for herself.

“It’s the same style of music, except people are usually standing on tables dancing,” Artz said.

A German Oompah band, Ja Ja Jas, performed everything from traditional music to pop. G.T.V. Almrausch, America’s oldest German dance group, entertained the crowd with their dancing.

Felicia Graumann, an alumna of Temple’s graduate program, joined G.T.V. three years ago to honor her German heritage.

“My undergraduate professor at Rowan [University] introduced me to G.T.V Almrausch,” Graumann said. “Last year, we danced at Oktoberfest in Germany.”

Graumann said that Philadelphia embraces the same communal feeling as Germany.

“Oktoberfest brings everyone together to celebrate,” Graumann said. “It’s a big part of the German culture.”

Madison Hall can be reached at

Madison Hall

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