Oktoberfest in Belleville, Illinois

When you want to celebrate Oktoberfest in the Metro East, make the drive to Belleville. The Illinois town has been hosting its Oktoberfest festivities for more than 30 years. The two-day celebration is your chance to experience German food, beer, music and more.

When and Where

Belleville's Oktoberfest is one of the earliest in the St. Louis area, usually in mid-to-late September. In 2016, Belleville Oktoberfest is Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The celebration is held at the Town Square in Belleville at the intersection of Main Street and Illinois Route 159.

It's about a 25 minute drive from downtown St. Louis. Take I-64 East to Exit 12, then follow 159 for about six miles into downtown Belleville. Admission is free.

Music, Food and More

As you would expect, music and food are a big part of the Belleville Oktoberfest celebration. Dozens of vendors sell a variety of foods including German specialties like bratwurst, weisswurst, pretzels and strudel. There are also American festival foods like hot dogs, kettle corn and corn on the cob. And, don't miss the opening ceremonies complete with the tapping of the golden keg on Friday at 5 p.m.

Both days are also filled with music from popular bands like Super Jam, Little River Band, Social Remedy and Trixie Delight. For children, there's a free kids area that's open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with plenty of games, crafts and fun.

Car Show

Another fun event at Belleville Oktoberfest is the car show.

All makes, models and years of vehicles are welcome to participate. Registration is open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. The judging for the car show begins at 1 p.m. Awards go to the top 20 entries, plus specialty awards.

Returning for 2016

The Weiner Dog Derby is back for another fun run this year.

Dachshunds of all ages and sizes will be racing Saturday after the costume contest at 2 p.m. Registration is before the race from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In addition to the race winners, awards will be given for the shortest, longest and best costumed dogs.

Other Local Oktoberfests

Belleville's celebration is one of the earliest in the region, but it certainly isn't the only Oktoberfest in the St. Louis area. There are also annual festivities in St. Charles, Hermann, Augusta and the big bash each October in Soulard. For more information, read Top Oktoberfests in the St. Louis Area.