Athenaeum hosts 14th annual GermanFest in Indianapolis, IN

The Athenaeum celebrates Indianapolis’ German heritage with its biggest festival.

INDY_Athenaeum GermanFest_SEPT2022

This event is different from Oktoberfest because it aims to be about more than just beer + celebrates the holiday German American Day on Oct. 6.

Photo by Athenaeum Foundation

Prost. Indy’s biggest Haus party is back.

Next weekend, the historic Athenaeum is hosting its 14th annual GermanFest.

The festival
GermanFest is a celebration of German American heritage in Indianapolis and acts as a bookend to Oktoberfest season, which typically runs the month of September and first week of October.

The festival celebrates the tradition and culture of Indy’s German ancestors with food, drinks, live music, and games. You can’t forget the keg toss + fan-favorite wiener dog races.

INDY_GermanFest Weiner Dog Race_SEPT2022

The name “dachshund” is of German origin and means “badger dog.”

Photo by Athenaeum Foundation

This year, the Athenaeum is focused on providing true, traditional German-style food.

“It’s a good way to connect with local community members, [...] especially if you’re new to the market and don’t really know what’s going on. It’s a really fun way to step into the Mass Ave. or Lockerbie neighborhood and start to get a feel for this part of town,” said Craig Mince, Athenaeum Foundation President.

The festivities will run from noon-8 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 8 on Michigan + New Jersey streets, outside the Athenaeum. Pro tip: get tickets in advance online to save money.

The culture
The Athenaeum’s mission is to remind Hoosiers of Indy’s German culture and help keep the traditions alive.

“I think Indianapolis would be a much different city if we didn’t have that German culture and heritage in it for the last 200 years,” said Craig.

If you didn’t know, by the end of the 1890s, about 70% of Indianapolis residents reported having German heritage.

During the 19th century, German immigration transformed the Midwest socially, demographically, and politically — and Indianapolis was no exception. German immigrants who settled on Indianapolis’ south side developed a network of greenhouses + produce farming that fed the community and their tradition of locally-grown produce has been making a resurgence today.