Organizers Are Nixing Oktoberfest 2021 in Tempe, Citing the Delta Variant

Cool down with a cold one at Four Peaks Oktoberfest.
Cool down with a cold one at Four Peaks Oktoberfest. Alexandra Gaspar
Set your lederhosen aside for another year: The Four Peaks Oktoberfest scheduled for October 8 to 10 at Tempe Beach Park has been canceled due to concerns about the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to Mike O'Hara, one of the event's organizers.

"Given the current situation surrounding the Delta variant, potential local government restrictions, and the financial burden to produce the event, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Four Peaks Oktoberfest," O'Hara and fellow event producers Lauren Gearhart and Paul Sheard wrote in a formal statement issued on August 31.

A longtime staple of the local festival scene, the event is the state’s largest Oktoberfest celebration. It transforms Tempe Beach Park into a traditional German celebration complete with a beer garden, German food, live music, dancing, and carnival fare. It benefits the Tempe Sister Cities program and is one of the largest events held each year in Tempe.

The Tempe Office of Tourism projected that Oktoberfest 2021 would draw 20,000 people and have a total economic impact of over $300,000.

The city of Tempe is currently considering additional mitigation strategies for large events, which could include requiring ticket holders to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated. A city spokesperson says they expect to have something “summarizing the path forward” later today.

In the meantime, Oktoberfest fans can look ahead to the 50th annual Four Peaks Oktoberfest, which organizers plan to present in October 2022. 
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble