New Oktoberween festival kicks off this weekend at fairgrounds

Published 6:56 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

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The Freeborn County Fairgrounds will be the home for a new fall festival this year that is a combination celebration of Oktoberfest and Halloween. 

Festivities for the Oktoberween event kick off this weekend and continue the final weekend in October, as well as on Halloween itself. 

Holly Babcock, director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau said the event has been a collaborative effort between the CVB, Albert Lea Recreation Department and 112 on Broadway. 

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Babcock said the entities started out talking about an Oktoberfest event, looked at ways to bring back a haunted house to Albert Lea and eventually came to the consensus that they should do it all in one big event. They have been planning the festival for over a year. 

We are so looking forward to all the fun and spookiness ahead,” Babcock said. 

The Oktoberfest portion will feature live music, cold brews, trivia, food trucks and games in the beer garden. There will also be a children’s carnival with a bounce house, costume contest, outdoor maze, train rides, crafts and outdoor movies. Lastly, there will be a haunted house.

Admission to the festival is $5 per person with children under 5 free. Limited pre-sale five-punch passes are available for $20 at the CVB office. Parking will be available from the West Richway Drive entrance to the fairgrounds. 

This Friday, the kids carnival will be from 5 to 7 p.m., and the haunted house will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Food and beer will be for sale from 5 to 11 p.m., and entertainment, by Bourbon Stiletto, will be at 8:30 p.m. 

On Saturday, the children’s carnival runs from noon to 7 p.m., with the haunted house again from 7 to 10 p.m. Food and beer will be for sale from noon to midnight, and Dan Stursa Polka Band will entertain from 1 to 4 p.m. and 507 Country at 8:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the carnival runs from noon to 7 p.m., the haunted house from 7 to 10 p.m. and food and beer from noon to 8 p.m. 

For times for the following weekend and Halloween day visit

Babcock said there will be discounts for each day of the festival. 

This Friday, the first 100 entries will get $1 off at the gate. Both Saturdays people can buy one entry and get one free if they bring a bag of nonperishables to donate to the local food shelf. Family Days are both Sundays, with buying one adult entry, one youth can get in free. The last Friday of the event, people can receive a $1 off coupon if they attend the Trickin’ Treatin‘ event first that evening at the Freeborn County Historical Museum.