McKinney’s Oktoberfest may have officially began in 2008, but its roots actually started a thousand miles away and nearly a decade earlier.
Twenty years ago, Ron and Alev Wieland were members of German clubs and active participants in German cultural events in Cincinnati. As a delegate of the Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati, Alev traveled to Munch to further economic and cultural interaction between the two cities.
The Wielands relocated to McKinney in 2000 and hosted an Oktoberfest event at their home to meet new friends and neighbors. From 2001 to 2007 the event grew from 40 to 130 guests. Alev wondered whether the popularity of his little festmight mean that an Oktoberfest event on McKinney’s historic downtown square might be successful. Neighbors Dan and Wiltrud Prescott knew then city councilman Pete Huff, who opened the door to McKinney City Council and the Main Street Organization. The idea won wide acceptance and the annual McKinney Oktoberfest was born in September 2008.
Ron and Alev are still active in the community – particularly in support of McKinney Oktoberfest. They coordinate international entertainers, help obtain corporate sponsorships and advise on site logistics and how best to improve overall experience at the event. The Wielands are an excellent example of McKinney’s community spirit!
Now celebrating its tenth year, McKinney Oktoberfest draws close to 50,000 attendees and attracts visitors from all over north Texas. Tapping into the colorful tradition that began in Munich, Germany in 1810, McKinney Oktoberfest is a family-friendly event with authentic German music, food and drink, traditional costumes, dancing and children’s activities while staying honoring the many cultural contributions of German immigrants who settled in Texas.