What in the heck

is Oktupperfest?


Gute Zeit (Good Time)

To a native of Tupper Lake, “Oktupperfest” rolls off your tongue like it is a completely normal word & concept. But it has increasingly come to my attention that not everyone knows what Oktupperfest is, how to pronounce it, and more importantly why they should check it out! So let me help break this awesome event down for you, and trust me before you know it you will be adding Oktupperfest to your "must-do list" for fall. 

Oktupperfest FAQ

What's in a name?

Let’s start with the basics: pronunciation. I have been asked time and time again "what is okay-tupper-fest?" Before I get to answering this question, I want to point out that this is NOT how it is pronounced. It is actually pronounced Oc-tupper-fest, as in the traditional German Oktoberfest with some good-old-fashioned Tupper Lake flare. (Yes, we know... a little confusing, but it's been called that since it originated sometime in the 70s, so why change now? Right?)

So, what is it?

In short, Oktupperfest is Tupper Lake's annual fall festival at Big Tupper Ski Area. It is a full day of festivities, food, music, crafts and, of course, good cold beer - all set to the spectacular backdrop of the Adirondack Mountain's fall foliage. 

Crowds gather for live music at Oktupperfest 2014

When is it?

This is another area of confusion... it is actually held on the last Saturday of September - this year, September 26 to be exact. This is contrary to most Oktoberfest celebrations which are traditionally held in October (hence the name). So why September? Well, the main reasons are:

  1. That is when the leaves are usually at peak in our region of the Adirondacks.
  2. The temperatures are more likely to be (let's say festive) in September than October. 
  3. Similar to the name itself, we like to stick with tradition and that is when it was scheduled way back when it all began.

Why Should I Attend?

Now that we have covered the who, what, when & where... it is time to get to the fun part: learning why you should attend this unique event with a somewhat confusing name. If you have never had the chance to experience Oktupperfest, here are the top 5 reasons why you should be at Big Tupper on Saturday, September 26th. (If you have attended in the past, you know what it's all about, so I will just say "see ya at the mountain.")

1. It's Quite A Ride

From chairlift rides and helicopter rides, to running in giant Zorb balls, Oktupperfest is sure to offer you a ride to remember.

-- The Chair - During Oktupperfest, Chair 2 at Big Tupper Ski Area will be shuttling leaf peepers up the mountain for a spectacular view of the lakes and village below. From there you can choose to continue to hike to the top, or work your way back down to the festivities below. Either way you go, you are guaranteed an amazing view of the colorful fall landscape.

Happy riders getting ready to get off Chair 2 during Oktupperfest 2014 (Jim "Cookie" Lanthier photo)

-- The Helicopter - Back by popular demand, North Country Heliflite will be at Oktupperfest providing some of the most scenic rides in the Adirondacks. (Additional charge for the helicopter rides do apply.)

North Country Heliflite departs with riders from Big Tupper's Oktupperfest (Jim "Cookie" Lanther photo)

-- New in 2015: ZORB - If you have never heard of Zorb before, just picture a couple of giant hamster balls. Even if you aren't ready to take this ride, simply watching others taking them for a spin is sure to be a good time all on its own.

2. From Craft Beer to Craft Fair... it's Crafty!

From the Big Tupper Brewing IPA "Eh" Ale & Winter Touk on tap, to the giant craft fair inside the lodge, Oktupperfest is loaded with crafty fun. The way I look at it, where else can you start your holiday shopping with a good cold beer in hand?

3. It's Affordable 

$5 bucks. Yup, admission to Oktupperfest is only $5, and better yet if you have a full car-load of people it is only $20 for the whole tribe. So pack up the clown car and head up to Big Tupper.

(and for a good cause)

But the ease to the pocket doesn't end there. All of the money spent on admission and beer goes directly back to funding the volunteer operation of Big Tupper Ski Area and the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce this winter. So let your mind be at ease knowing this event won't cost you a whole lot, and what you do spend actually goes toward a good cause.

4. Talk About Unique

How far will it go? Test your skill on the pumpkin slingshot (Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce photo)

This event isn't just your run of the mill fall festival. From the Zorb Balls and the pumpkin slingshot, to youth archery lessons, pumpkin paintball contest, and the giant burlap maze - just like the name itself, Oktupperfest has its fair share of uniqueness to it. 

Tupper Lake Archers teach kids how to shoot a bow & arrow (ROOST/Shaun Ondak photo)

5. Family-Friendly Tradition 

Last, but not least, Oktupperfest is an event has a nostalgic family-friendly feel to it. Spend the day with friends and family as you wander the ground of Big Tupper surrounded by colorful leaves, live music, laughter and fun. Enjoy some delicious German food or stick to some classic American BBQ fair, wash it down with some local craft beer and soak up what will probably be one of the last nice days to be outside in the 'dacks before it is time to pull out the winter parka. 

Are you ready?

I've only begun to highlight some of the reasons why I would recommend checking out Oktupperfest this September. Now it's your turn to check out the complete schedule of activities and then get ready to load up the car with your friends, family, and co-workers (heck, after 4 everyone else in the car is FREE so you can even bring weird Uncle Todd along for this one) and then head up to Big Tupper Ski Area.

Check out these additional awesome ADK events:

It’s classic! Get ready to race to LP from marathons to car shows, live music to lederhosen. 

Going’ the distance! From scenic runs to Rough Riders and antique motors, the Schroon Lake Region is gearing up for fall.

Peak performance! Bavarian fun, face painting, gondola rides — Whiteface is the place to get your color on this fall. 

Cool fests! Farm2Fork, HoboFest, 90-miler — yeah, Saranac Lake knows how to celebrate the season.

A-maze-ing! Trek to the Adirondack Coast this fall for some old world — and out-of-this world —events!

True ADK experience! From moose-calling contests to celebrating fruit, we know how to usher in the season! 

Blue skies overhead! Malone acts as an awesome backdrop for your early-autumn activities. 

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