What better way to kick off a fun-filled fall than a day in Downtown Hershey with the best bands, beer, bites, and chocolate we can offer?! Check out this year’s Choctoberfest food, drink, and music lineup!
Texas native Rhett Miller is perhaps best known as the frontman of the Dallas-based alt-country band Old 97’s. After releasing one of the Old 97’s’ strongest albums in years with 2014’s “Most Messed Up”, Miller returned to his solo career with 2015’s critically acclaimed “The Traveler,” which featured backing from the band Black Prairie (which includes several members of the Decemberists) and a guest appearance from Peter Buck of R.E.M.
Standing right in the thick of the Philadelphia music scene it is a quartet of fun-loving, passionate, and crazy college boys that call themselves RFA. Through high energy Rock & Roll music, the group is showing people what having a good time is all about.
Hailing from Central Pennsylvania, CASE 150 is a veteran group of roots rockers who enjoy a strong following in the Northeast and, notably, the Village scene of New York City. CASE 150 blends poignant lyrics and tight harmonies with twang-pop, alt-country instrumentation. CASE 150 is on the Blind Pigeon Records (BPR-Pottsville, PA) label – joining the burgeoning Americana music scene emanating from Pennsylvania and the surrounding area.
Up Pops the Devil
Four self-admitted music nerds who hang out so much they could finish each other’s sentences (and often do), Up Pops the Devil is a band with an immediately recognizable country, rhythm and blues influence. But the vibe is all their own as they take over the stage while still staying true to their strong beating rock n roll heart.
Tröegs Independent Brewing
Created by brothers Chris and John Trogner, Troegs Independent Brewing got its start on Paxton Street in Harrisburg in 1997. Booming business made the brothers’ Harrisburg brewhouse feel like “20 ounces of beer in a 16 ounce pint glass,” leading them to open the present-day facility in Hershey in 2011. Since then, Troegs Independent Brewing has operated out of their two brewhouse sites, one of which is used for everyday production, and the other for research and development. Troegs has been present at multiple Downtown Hershey events, and we look forward to their involvement at this year’s Choctoberfest! We hear they’re bringing a nitro chocolate stout and the seasonal favorite, Hop Knife.
St. Boniface Brewing Company
Since 2010, St. Boniface Brewing Company has operated out of Ephrata, PA, and they will soon be bringing their beers to Hershey! St. Boniface Brewing Company focuses on year round, seasonal, and limited edition beers created and served to customers on site. Now, Hershey area folks will have the opportunity to try out these unique offerings, including their chocolate porter at the St. Boniface Brewing Company tent at this year’s Choctoberfest!
Zeroday Brewing Company
One must only stray a few blocks from the capitol in Harrisburg to happen upon Zeroday Brewing Company, founded in 2015. Theo and Brandalynn Armstrong started Zeroday Brewing Company with the vision of creating a relaxing, light atmosphere for customers to enjoy good drinks and unwind from a long day. The couple operated a crowdfunding campaign, which was ultimately successful enough for them to open their current brewery and tasting room. Though the Zeroday Brewing Company Tasting Room may be in the Midtown district of Harrisburg on a normal day, Choctoberfest will bring these balanced ales and lagers to ChocolateTown Square for attendees to enjoy!
Howling Henry’s Brewery
Though they may not have a service location yet, Howling Henry’s Brewery has found success with their production in the Hummelstown area, and will be sharing it with us at this year’s Choctoberfest! The company lives by the mantra “crafting beer without rules,” which they project through their products that don’t quite fit the traditional confines of typical beer. They pride themselves on carrying products totally different from what is out on the craft beer market, and you can find out just how different they are at their Choctoberfest booth! Try their Howl’ Oats India Pale Ale and other selections.
Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey
After Doug and Stephanie Gellatly purchased a 40 acre farm nearly eight years ago, they joined forces with three other friends, and the Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey was born. Each member of the Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey has their own unique story, but all were drawn together by their passion for fine wine and a great atmosphere. The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey emphasizes that “artfully crafted wine or beer is meant to be a shared experience with family and friends,” and they plan to bring three of their hard ciders, including their Presidential Peanut Butter, to Choctoberfest this year!
After Bill and Dottie Dressler purchased what is now known as Olivero’s Vineyard in 1976, the began their journey to the now fruitful business that many have come to know and love. Now owned by Bill and his two children, Megan and Matthew, Olivero’s vineyard has expanded beyond its Juniata valley home base to be featured at many Downtown Hershey events and activities. A regular vendor at our Farmer’s Market on Chocolate, they will be joining the fun again during Choctoberfest, so make sure to try out some of their fine wines before you leave!
Chocolate Avenue Grill
Found on the street from which it draws its name, the Chocolate Avenue Grill opened its doors to its Hershey customers in 2007 and has been a staple in the community ever since. Patrons dine on extensive lunch and dinner menus only steps away from the heart of Downtown Hershey. Join the Chocolate Avenue Grill when they set up shop down the street at Choctoberfest! Make sure to try the smoked mac and cheese!
Devon Seafood Grill
Situated on Chocolate Avenue, Devon Seafood Grill provides the Hershey area with high quality seafood, steaks, and cocktails. Devon Seafood Grill is committed to sustainable methods of providing the best dining experience to patrons, and they plan to bring delicious samplings of these items to Choctoberfest, including lobster roll sliders and Old Bay potato chips.
Located in the Hershey Press Building, Houlihan’s of Hershey provides a wide variety of dining options for patrons. Their menu offers everything from hamburgers to calamari, and is a regular fixture for locals and tourists alike. The restaurant will bring a selection of their offerings to Choctoberfest including pork sliders with fried pickles and tomato soup shooters with fried cheese!
The Pantry Cafe and Desserts, Etc.
After opening its doors in 1990, The Hershey Pantry quickly became known for its top notch breakfasts, award winning lunches, and wide selection of homemade baked goods. It’s not uncommon to find eager patrons lined up out the door looking for a hearty brunch on Saturday mornings. A second location, The Pantry Cafe, is located across from ChocolateTown Square, inside the Hershey Story Museum. Here you can find treats from their popular Desserts, Etc. brand, or grab a smoothie before heading back into town. The restaurant group also operates Irv’s Pub on Chocolate Avenue. You won’t want to miss their beer can chicken sandwich and delectable desserts at Choctoberfest!
The Mill in Hershey
The Mill in Hershey is located in the historic Curry Feed Mill, which dates to the 1900s. With fresh ingredients from local farms and hand-crafted cocktails, The Mill strives to deliver the best in food, drink,and service to each of their guests. Stop by The Mill’s tent at Choctoberfest to try their candies pecans and popcorn.
The Penn Hotel and Sports Bar
Take a drive down Old West Chocolate Avenue, and you will find the Penn Hotel and Sports Bar tucked away, but full of patrons. This laid back bar offers delicious meals and drinks, and they are excited to share them with everyone at Choctoberfest!
The Cocoa Beanery
Also in attendance this year will be the Cocoa Beanery, a coffeehouse regarded for their delicious drinks, grab-and-go lunches, and relaxed atmosphere. Patrons come for a quick bite or stay for lunch, and Choctoberfest attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy s’mores!
Of course, Choctoberfest wouldn’t be complete without familiy activities, including pumpkin painting and a bouncy obstacle course, and delicious samplings of chocolate! The Hershey Company will provide chocolate to facilitate beer and chocolate pairings highlighting brands such as Scharffen Berger, Dagoba, and Brookside, as well as a variety of seasonal items. Specialty chocolate vendors will also be onsite selling craft chocolate items. Don’t forget to snap a picture with the Kissmobile before you leave!
We need your help! Choctoberfest would not be possible without the exceptional Downtown Hershey volunteers, and you can be part of that team! Sign up at https://www.volunteersignup.org/8WTEQ to assist at this exciting event!