It's Oktoberfest time. In Maryland, the City of Gaithersburg hosts an Oktoberfest celebration at Kentlands, a unique and historic neighborhood, each October. The event features horse-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin painting, beer garden, wine terrace, Bavarian food, and entertainment. Live music throughout the day takes place on stages in the festival area. There is a business expo area and lots of family activities. Admission and parking are free. Some activities have a nominal fee.
Oktoberfest takes place Sunday, October 14, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Kentlands neighborhood in Gaithersburg Maryland. The festival spreads throughout Kentlands Village Green, the grounds of Kentlands Mansion, Main Street and Market Square. The Kentlands is located off of Great Seneca Highway (119) and Quince Orchard Road (124).
Free and wheelchair accessible shuttle service will run regularly during festival hours to and from satellite parking at 101 and 200 Orchard Ridge Drive, just off of Quince Orchard Road.
The Oktoberfest in Gaithersburg is a community-oriented event with fun for all ages. Dress up in a dirndl and lederhosen and you'll fit right in. Events this year include:
- A Wine Terrace, a traditional Beer Garden, food vendors and the ever-popular performances of the Alte Kameraden German Band and Alt-Washingtonia Bavarian Dancers will be held at the grounds around the Arts Barn and Kentlands Mansion. A second stage, horse-drawn wagon rides, apple pressing demonstrations, and other family-friendly activities are also featured at this location.
- Tap & Taste offers an opportunity to try a wide variety of unique, locally-brewed ales. Each brewery is offering four-ounce tastes of featured selections. The Tasting Package is $20 and includes a commemorative glass and 10 tastes of craft beer from Dogfish Head Alehouse, Duclaw Brewing Company, Jailbreak Brewing Company, Waredaca Brewing Company, and 7 Locks Brewing.
- Along Main Street in the commercial heart of Kentlands, entertainment will feature a variety of bands and community groups, artists, crafters, a business expo, strolling entertainers, chalk artists, aerialists, and a children’s crafts and activities area.
Festival-goers can easily walk between the two areas or hop on a trolley as volunteer docents share information about the history of Kentlands and its significance as an early pioneer in the new urbanist movement.
The Kentlands Neighborhood
Kentlands has a unique history. The neighborhood was one of the first community development projects using traditional neighborhood design planning techniques. Now termed New Urbanism, the concept provides for a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood where people can work, live, and play and get to know their neighbors. The New Urbanism concept was developed as an alternative to the suburban, car-centric neighborhoods that popped up after World War II. The Kentlands neighborhood is built around a farmstead previously owned by Otis Beall Kent that had its origins in a 1723 land grant.
In 1988 when Kentlands was first developed buildings from the Kentlands farm were incorporated into the design. The neighborhood was designed with a variety of living spaces, parks, small business district, open space and parks, and a community center.
The beautiful brick mansion where part of the Oktoberfest takes place had an important role in the history of the area. According to the Kentlands Community Foundation, in 1852 a pharmaceutical business owner, Frederick A. Tschiffely, purchased more than 200 acres of land from the family that originally owned the farm. In 1900, his son, also named Frederick A. Tschiffely, built the impressive brick mansion, barn, gatehouse, overseer’s house, greenhouse and chicken coop that gave the property the nickname of “The Bricks.” The family named their estate Wheatlands, as they grew wheat on the farm, and raised their eight children in the mansion.
Today, the mansion is used as an event venue. It has been lovingly cared for and restored reflecting the grandeur of the early 1900s. The mansion has 22-foot ceilings, dark wood paneling, and crystal chandeliers.