McKinney’s Oktoberfest may have officially began in 2008, but its roots actually started a thousand miles away!
20 years ago, Ron and Alev Wieland were members of German clubs in Cincinnati and active participants in community German cultural events in that area. Alev’s involvement in the Munich Sister City Association of Greater Cincinnati included several trips to Munch as a member of delegations to further the economic and cultural interaction between the two cities.
After relocating to McKinney in 2000, the Wielands thought there would be no better way to meet new friends and neighbors than to host an Oktoberfest event in the courtyard of their home. Starting in 2001 and continuing for the next 7 years, this neighborhood event grew from 40 to 130 guests. The popularity of this little Fest caused Alev to wonder aloud the possibility of an Oktoberfest in McKinney’s historic downtown square. Neighbors Dan and Wiltrud Prescott were acquainted with then city councilman Pete Huff, who opened the door to presentations to McKinney City Council and the Main Street Organization. The idea won wide acceptance and the annual McKinney Oktoberfest was officially born in September of 2008.
Ron and Alev have remained active in the community – particularly in support of McKinney’s Oktoberfest. They coordinate international entertainers and help obtain corporate sponsorships in addition to advising on site logistics and how best to improve the attendee’s overall experience at the event. The Wielands are an excellent example of McKinney’s community spirit!
Now celebrating its ninth year, McKinney’s 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’s Oktoberfest represents many things to many people. This family-friendly event offers authentic German music, food and drink, traditional costumes, dancing, and children’s activities while staying true to and honoring the many cultural contributions of German immigrants who settled in Texas.
On behalf of the Wielands, McKinney Main Street and the City of McKinney, thank you and – prost! Cheers!