Following its debut last year, Oktoberfest returned to Alton Towers Resort last weekend as the festivities for 2021 got underway. TowersTimes visited to see what changes and improvements the Resort have implemented to build on 2020’s successful event.
The event is once again primarily located on the front lawns, utilising the outdoor stage and picnic benches which have been in-situ all season, along with the addition of event-appropriate food and drink stalls set around the perimeter, as well as stand-up beer barrel tables. With the Resort having recently obtained planning permission to continue to use the stage in this location during the main season through to August 2024, it seems as though the event will continue to return in this same format for the next few years. A large inflatable entrance feature again welcomes guests to the Oktoberfest arena, which has itself been decorated with plenty of bunting, which also continues onto Towers Street where a maypole has been installed at the bottom end.
The Mutiny Bay Courtyard’s role as a secondary area of the event has been expanded for 2021, with the second stage erected in this location for this year, as the Courtyard becomes the Resort’s Bierkeller. A temporary pathway between the main arena and Mutiny Bay has been laid across the Front Lawns, complete with inflatable steins – a new addition to Oktoberfest’s decorations. Other new theming features have also been added around the Front Lawns and in Mutiny Bay, providing perfect photo opportunity backdrops.
Entertainment on both stages starts from 1pm, and includes live vocalists, dancers, themed characters, an accordion player, and the return of Oompah band, German Jukebox. Additional street theatre is provided by walkaround characters such as Beer and Bubbles, Alpine Horn Man and The Barrel Monks. This is the key element that creates Oktoberfest’s fun and lively atmosphere, and the Resort have acknowledged this by scheduling entertainment to continue for an hour after ride close (i.e. until 8pm during the 7pm ride closure at weekends).
Another key element of Oktoberfest is of course the variety of food and drink that’s available. As well as being served from the Bierkeller in Mutiny Bay, drinks are also available from the new two-storey Wunder Bar on the Front Lawns, which has a seating area on the first floor. There are a selection of four European beers on offer during the event, namely SPATEN, LISA, Hoegaarden, and Camden Pale Ale. They are priced at £5.50 per pint, or all four can be tried with a flight of four half pint measures for £11. Food options include a range of bratwursts, a hog roast, loaded fries, fried potatoes and meatballs, as well as Blooming Onions and Tornado Potatoes making a triumphant return after Mardi Gras earlier in the year. For those with a sweeter tooth, toasted marshmallows, hot chocolate and other sweet treats are available. The majority of stalls are located on the Front Lawns, however bratwursts are also available from a pop-up outlet in the Courtyard this year. Most of the food outlets are able to cater for Gluten Free and Vegan diets, but only card payments are accepted.
The Resort have a selection of Oktoberfest merchandise available from a souvenir stall located in the festival arena. Among the products on offer are branded Oktoberfest steins and mugs, as well as a pin badge, t-shirts and hoodies. Annual Pass discount is available on merchandise, but, like the food and drink stalls, the outlet is only accepting card payments.