ArtsQuest today announced that entry to the annual Oktoberfest at SteelStacks will be free for the first time since the festival started in 2011. Last year's fee was $10 for adults and children older than 11, and $3 for children under 11.
The nonprofit organization in a news release credits D.G. Yuengling & Son with making the free admission for this year's Oktoberfest possible. The Pottsville, Pennsylvania-based brewer is the primary sponsor.
"When Yuengling approached us with the idea of transforming Oktoberfest into a free event for our community, we thought it fit in perfectly with our mission, as well as our programming, about 65 percent of which is actually free to attend, " ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advancement Kassie Hilgert says in a statement.
The festival is scheduled to run on consecutive weekends - Oct. 3-5 and Oct. 10-12.
A number of new festivities are planned this year. Among them is a viewing party for the Penn State-Michigan football game Oct. 11 on the Levitt Pavilion Lawn, the news release states.
SteelStacks saw huge crowds for viewing parties during the World Cup, and ArtsQuest officials have previously said they would be exploring other opportunities to incorporate sports viewing parties into its programming, provided the parties fall within the organization's mission.
Also new will be a craft brewers' village presented by the Brewers of Pennsylvania at PNC Plaza both weekends of the festival, according to the release.
"In addition, the festival is adding additional pairing experiences featuring great German food and beverages, as well as a new Yuengling Oktoberfest 5k on Oct. 5, " the release says. "The 5k race has already attracted more than 2, 000 entrants.