Kicking off October: Lawrence, Indiana on Tap to host Lagers in Lawrence Oktoberfest

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A festival kicking off October in the traditional German way will come to Lawrence from 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 29 at Lawrence’s Civic Plaza,

Lagers in Lawrence will be co-hosted by the City of Lawrence and Indiana on Tap, an organization serving as a guide to Indiana breweries.

Justin Knepp, founder of Indiana on Tap, said city officials approached him about creating some sort of festival. Collectively, they came up with a craft beer Oktoberfest to celebrate fall.

“I couldn’t find like a true, large-scale craft beer Oktoberfest,” Knepp said. “There’s a lot of Oktoberfest events around Indy, but none that include a true, craft beer-tasting experience. You’ll see breweries have an Oktoberfest party, but there’s nothing like this.”

Lagers in Lawrence will be the city’s first large-scale beer festival. A street in Civic Plaza will be blocked to traffic and lined with picnic tables. German-themed food trucks will be on-site, and a DJ will play polka music. The German American Klub will put on a German dance.

“Picnic tables are pretty common in Oktoberfest events,” Knepp said. “People can sit down, drink and hangout. We are encouraging people to get in the spirit and dress up in German attire.”

German Alpine hats will be handed out to the first 200 guests. Activities will include a beer stein-holding contest. Contestants will hold a 33.8-ounce stein glass filled with beer, arm extented straight at shoulder height. Whoever holds the stein the longest wins.

“This is pretty cool because we are actually going to have 15 attendees getting up on stage, and we have these large steins filled up with beer and people have to hold it in front of them, and whoever can hold it up the longest wins,” Knepp said. “We are turning it into a spectator sport.” 

The winner will receive a stein trophy and a gift card.

Mayor Steve Collier said he hopes the event will bring people into the city. Lagers in Lawrence is just one event featured in downtown Lawrence to kick off the fall season.

“We have been trying to do more events that will draw people into the city, everything from July 4th to farmers markets to our Christmas tree,” Collier said. “Anything we can do like that to draw people into the city. Fall is particularly a good time. We have the farmers market, we have a jazz fest happening in Fort Harrison the week before (Lagers in Lawrence), and then the Fort Harrison Monumental Half-Marathon is the first weekend of October. It’s a good four-week period where lots of people are coming into the city.”

The event is for ages 21 and older. Fifteen to 20 breweries will participate with more than 100 beers available for sample.

Highlighting downtown Lawrence

Indiana on Tap founder Justin Knepp said the Lagers in Lawrence event will help highlight the charming downtown of the city, near historic Fort Benjamin Harrison.

“The city originally reached out to us wanting to create an event for Lawrence,” Knepp said. “For me, my interest in Lawrence was a different interpretation. When some people think of Lawrence, they think of the rougher side of Lawrence, but the downtown area of Lawrence is great. It’s very charming. There’s a ton of growth both residentially and commercially, and they’re doing some amazing things in Lawrence. When we were first approached by Mayor (Steve) Collier to bring this event, it was to really highlight the downtown area of Lawrence, to show off all the growth and businesses and opportunity down there.”

Go to the festival

What: Lagers in Lawrence Oktoberfest. The event is for ages 21 and older. Fifteen to 20 breweries will participate with more than 100 beers available for sample.

When: 3 to 7 p.m. Sept. 29

Where: Civic Plaza, 9230 Memorial Park Dr., Lawrence

Cost: VIP tickets are $40 in advance and allow one-hour early entry. VIP tickets will be $50 at the door. General admission is $30 in advance or $40 at the door. Tasting cups will be provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring a beer stein.

Tickets: events.ontaptickets.com/events/LagersInLawrence

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