Harvard Square Hosts 43rd Annual Oktoberfest


Harvard Square hosted Cambridge’s 43rd Annual Oktoberfest on Sunday, complete with beer, sausages, and music to entertain overflow crowds.

The event, which took place on Church St. and Brattle St., has been hosted in the Square every year since 1978, when it was first organized by Frank Cardullo.

The event coincided with the 17th Annual HONK! Parade, the first-ever Filipino American Festival in Harvard Square, and a poetry festival celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop.

The popular Harvard Square restaurants Alden and Harlow and Wusong Road hosted Oktoberfest outdoor beer gardens, along with the Commonwealth Wine School.


Several live music stages were set up throughout the Square, featuring an array of bands from Cambridge and beyond.

The weekend festivities began at 1 p.m. with the HONK! Parade, a brass street music performance that featured more than 20 bands.


Many musical groups performed on the Oktoberfest main stage, including La Banda Internacional de Chelsea, the Jamaica Plain Honk Band, and the School of Honk.

Sunday's festivities also included the Filipino American Festival, hosted by the Harvard Square Philippine American Alliance for the first time this year in honor of Filipino American History Month. Filipino artists and bands performed on a stage located in a Church St. parking lot, alongside booths set up by local Filipino-owned businesses.

The festival was headlined by a 5:30 p.m. performance by rapper EZ Mil, who was joined by other artists and dance troupes on the Church St. Stage.

The weekend also featured an art installation called “Chalk on the Walk,” which invited attendees to create chalk artwork on the Church St. pavement.


The Grolier Poetry Book Shop, founded in 1927, joined Oktoberfest for the first time this year in celebration of its 95th anniversary. The shop hosted poetry readings, including from Boston Youth Poet Laureate Anjalequa Birkett and current Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola.

Revels, a Cambridge-based performance group, also joined the festivities on Sunday to promote its Midwinter Revels program, which will be held in Sanders Theatre in December.

Jennifer Sur, the organization’s administrative services manager, said Revels’ productions “look at different cultures and different time periods.”

“We look at the traditions around the solstice for those cultures, or Christmas, too, depending on the culture,” she said.

This year’s production will look at Mexican, Irish, and Jewish cultures set in Ellis Island in the 1920s, Sur said.

The celebration concluded at Grendel’s Den, which hosted an Oktoberfest after-party featuring the 20th annual keg tapping ceremony.

—Staff writer Kate Delval Gonzalez can be reached at