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Top 10 Reasons to Attend the German American Festival

Join the fun as Toledo’s oldest and largest ethnic festival kicks off the fun Aug. 23-25, 2018!

The German-American Festival has been promoting the German and Swiss cultures and providing a great time for visitors of all ages for over half a century. Since there are so many reasons that people keep coming back to the GAF year after year, we’ve decided to compile our top reasons why you cannot miss the 54th German-American Festival. Read on and enjoy the festival. Prost!


1.  The Setting

We’ve all been to parking lot festivals with minimal seating and atmosphere. Not so at the German-American Festival. Set in Oak Shade Grove, this 94-acre park setting is comfortably shaded by mature oak trees. The park size and festival layout allows guests to find their own space without feeling crowded.

Our Tip: Plenty of free, lighted parking is available with people movers to deliver you easily to the main entrance gate on Seaman Street.


2. Two Words: Potato Pancakes!

The genuine potato pancakes, made the old German way, are so good, they may have you going back for seconds. Made to order, they are served up piping hot with a side of apple sauce and sour cream.

Our Tip: Make sure to purchase your food and drink tickets online or at the festival before getting inline for potato pancakes, food or drink booths.


3. The Food   

The potato pancakes are only the start to the ridiculously long list of tasty treats available. Enjoy German favorites like, Schnitzel sandwiches (a German classic), ham shank, bratwurst, homemade potato salad and landjäger. Don’t miss the indoor/outdoor Swiss Essen Haus bakery featuring many types of European-style and imported cheeses, breads and meats.

Our Tip: The Swiss Essen Haus features the Vienna Café to relax and enjoy all the great food.


4. The Weingarten

You’ll want to carve out some time to hang in the Weingarten. Find yourself a picnic table and enjoy live music and German dancers throughout the weekend. Check out the entertainment schedule here: Weingarten entertainment.

Our Tip: This is the spot to sample a variety of easy drinking German wines – including Auslese, Spätlese, Piesporter and Riesling.


5. Beer! Lots and Lots of German Beer!

Now we’re talking! What’s a German festival without beer? You will find an astonishing 55 German beers. That’s one of the largest collection of German beers found at any festival…even more than you’ll find at the famed Oktoberfest in Germany!

Our Tip: Give Trash the Boot! Grab your beer in a plastic boot shaped souvenirs for you to take home.


6. Desserts Galore!

After you’ve walked off some of the German food and beer, it’s time to head to the Swiss Essen Haus for the homemade pastries including Kuchen, strudels, cookies, pies, cakes, brownies, and tarts! Don’t forget the cream puffs, ice cream and funnel cakes located by the VIP Clubhouse.

Our Tip: Dessert favorites, like strudel, will run out first. Arrive early and get your treats to go!


7. Shuttle Service

The German-American Festival makes it safe and easy for guests to get to and from the festival. For a small fee, get a pick up from one of the following locations throughout the Toledo area. A bonus? Hollywood Casino Toledo offers free shuttle service to and from the festival!

Our Tip: In the interest of public safety, Black & White Cab and the German-American Festival are teaming up. The taxi area is located at the East gate by the bus pickup.


8. GAF Beer Mile

For those beer lovers who love to run, what better way to enjoy two of your favorite pastime with like-minded friends? The GAF Beer Mile Run will take place on Sat., Aug., 24, at 1 p.m. Participants will run one mile and consume a total of four beers. Along with the mile run, a mini mile will also be offered. 

Our Tip: Sign up here before August 24 at 11:59 pm to participate in the GAF Beer Mile.


9. Family Friendly! 

There are plenty of activities to entertain and amaze your young ones. Bumper cars, a super slide, funhouse, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round are just a few of the fantastic rides your kids will enjoy.

Our Tip: Check out the Hummel Look-Alike Contest for all children between the ages of 2-10 (by pre-application). The contest is held on Sunday afternoon and is the longest running contest of its kind in the U.S.


10. It's lots of FUN!

New this year, you can enter the 54th German-American Festival Raffle. Tickets can be purchased at the festival until 8 pm on Sunday, Aug. 25 or online at until 6 p.m. on Aug 25th. 1st Prize is a 2 Year lease of a BMW X2 courtesy of Yark BMW of Toledo, 2nd Prize is a three-hour, 6 passenger limo service courtesy of Childers and a complimentary dinner for two at either Final Cut Steak & Seafood or Epic Buffet AND a V.I.P. table at a Hollywood Casino Concert event, courtesy of Hollywood Casino Toledo. You don't have to be present to win!

So, whether of German heritage or come from the opposite side of the world, whether you're 3 or 73, it truly doesn't matter - the German-American Festival is just plain old good time. 

Our Tip (for those of age): Yell Prost! with pride as you lift your boot full of beer high in the air and have a great time at the 54th German-American Festival!


We've come up with our top ten but check out the festival for yourself and let us know what your favorite part was!

Share your memories with us @ToledoCVB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don't forget to use #ThisIsToledo and #GAFtoledo.

For more information visit and @GAFSociety on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for great content and updates on this year's festival.


Festival Hours | Thursday: VIP Event (Tickets available for purchase) Friday: 4 p.m. - 1 a.m., Saturday: Noon - 1 a.m.,  Sunday: Noon - 11 p.m.

Location | Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Road, Oregon, OH 43616

Tickets |  Single Day Pass: $8,  3-Day Package: $19
VIP Passes also available for purchase for Thursday's VIP Kickoff and festival.
Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.
Click here to purchase all tickets in advance

Photos courtesy of GAF Society Facebook and Destination Toledo.