The Countdown is On! 8 Must-Know Tips to Prep for Alpenfest

As the days tick down to the 59th annual Alpenfest, we’re gearing up for all the festivities that make this event unforgettable! Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned festival-goer, this list will prepare you to make the most of the music, contests and community spirit that awaits in Gaylord.

1 – Dust Off Your Dirndl and Lederhosen

No one wants to show up to the World’s Largest Coffee Break underdressed. But don’t worry – if that’s a bit more than your sense of style can handle, all you need is an Alpenfest pin to enjoy all the festival has to offer. Since 1965, the coffee breaks have been a tradition where locals and visitors come together over coffee and donuts. Fun fact: In 1983, the Alpenfest Committee even tried to get into the Guinness Book of World Records, but they were told there wasn’t a category for such a unique event. The coffee break is still the largest, as far as we’re concerned!

2 – Get Your Game Face On

We’ve got a lineup of exciting competitions for everyone to enjoy. Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned potato sack race? Or maybe jumping rope and stilt walking are more your speed. Feeling a bit daring? Test your skills in the stone-throwing contest! Not in the mood for active games? No problem! Alpenfest offers pizza eating, pie eating, bubble gum blowing, and even a goldfish eating contest. Runners will be happy to know the popular Alpenfest Run is happening again. With a half marathon, 10k, 5k and a 1-mile fun run/walk, there’s something for every fitness level. Visit to register.

3 – Pack Your Dancing Shoes

With over 10 concerts lined up over five days, you’re in for a musical treat! Just grab an Alpenfest pin from the Chamber of Commerce, and you’re all set to join in on the fun! The artists include Frohliche Musiker Blasorchester Band, Nameless, Satisfaction – the International Rolling Stones Tribute Show, Mega 80s, Family Tradition Band, Grand Traverse Pipe and Drum, Petoskey Steel Drum Band Concert, New Brass Express Concert and RepliKaty-The Katy Perry Experience. Whew, that’s a loaded lineup!

4 – Put Your Diet On Hold

It’s hard to resist the allure of elephant ears, and nothing refreshes quite like an ice-cold lemonade on a hot July afternoon. If you can walk past the carnival food without treating yourself, the scents wafting down the street from Ethnic Alley will surely draw you in. Now is definitely not the time to count calories! Savor and sample a bit of everything – polish sausage, pierogis, prime rib, egg rolls, burgers and brats, oh my! And don’t miss out on the Ice Cream Social – it’s the cherry on top!

5 – Prepare for a Thrill

Alpenfest’s carnival rides offer fun for everyone in the family! Thrill-seekers will find plenty of excitement, while younger kids can enjoy gentler rides that are just their speed. Even adults can find something to bring out their inner child. From high-flying adventures to classic carnival fun, there’s a ride for everyone.

6 – Get Ready for Alpenfest Parades

Parades are THE BEST, and Alpenfest has a lineup you’ll love! Put on your best Alpenfest attire and join the Gaylord Alpine Band for the walking parade. Want to jazz up your bike? Head to the art tent, deck it out, and join the bike parade. Got a 4-legged buddy who’s ready to show off? They can strut their stuff in a funny costume (or go au naturel) in the Pet Parade. And of course, the showstopper – the Grand Parade on Saturday. There are so many parades to enjoy!

7 – Leave Extra Space in Your Luggage

As you wander through the Strasse and browse the vendor tents, it’s like finding a Christmas market in the middle of July. With so many unique crafts, handmade art and one-of-a-kind treasures, you’re bound to discover something special you won’t want to leave behind.

8 – Rest Up!

After enjoying the lively contests, exciting carnival rides, dynamic live bands and delicious food, you might be ready for some rest by the end of the day! With so much excitement happening, why not pack an overnight bag and stay? Our accommodations cater to all preferences, from modern and luxurious to cozy and economical.

Come see Gaylord shine at Alpenfest ’59!

Jump to the Alpenfest website.