Racing dachshunds, Bavarian hats, traditional German food and beverage and ax-throwing all are part of the mix that makes Oktoberfest one of Nashville’s favorite cultural celebrations.

Each year almost a quarter of a million people come out to the free, 10-block festival in the Germantown neighborhood, the city’s traditional German settlement which now has been transformed by countless condominium and residential developments. 

The fest — which ran Oct. 12-13  — begins each year with the Oktoberfest 5K run; then vendors and celebrants settle in for a day of all things German, including food, beer, crafts and clothing.

And there’s always room for more German stuff, according to Jackie Sharpnack, of the I Love Oktoberfest booth. 

“This is my 12th Oktoberfest, and we thought the festival needed even more German heritage, so we opened this booth selling Bavarian hats, German steins, edelweiss jewelry, just so we can bring some of our German heritage to the festival,” she said. 

She and many others with German roots come to the festival for a taste of home. The history of the worldwide Oktoberfest celebrations dates back to the early 1800s. A royal marriage took place between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese, the couple invited the citizens of Munich, Germany, to celebrate with them. After, the celebration has been held to commemorate the grand party over the world. 

Despite the festival seeming like one big party, there were children, families, and dogs by the thousands in attendance at the festival. Over 150 dachshund’s attended the festival as competitors. These pups ran 50 feet to determine the fest’s annual Dachshund Derby champ.

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