October First Fridays: Downtown Oktoberfest

Downtown South Bend will be filled with fall fun this October First Fridays, as we celebrate "Downtown Oktoberfest." 

Throw on your lederhosen and come downtown for pumpkin-spiced food and drinks, free pumpkin carving at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, hay rides from Dream Coach Carriages, and a giant Oktoberfest Celebration at the Purple Porch Co-op, complete with a German band and beer garden!

In addition to fall activities, Chicory Cafe is having one last Shrimp Boil of 2017, the South Bend Museum of Art will be holding a celebration of local artists at their Artist Mixer, and you can attend the last architectural walking tour of the season. Check out all the details below!



Transpo will be offering FREE shuttle rides on one of their new CNG buses from 5:00 to 9:00 pm., and just last month they launched  their new shuttle route, which includes the South Bend Museum of Art! Click here for a map of the new shuttle route. Transpo shuttle service will pass each stop approximately every 15 minutes. 

The shuttle service now has First Fridays Tour Guides! They will tell you all about the different activities and promotions that are taking place downtown at First Fridays, as well give general info about the downtown businesses, mixed with historical tidbits and fun facts. Grab a seat on the new First Fridays Transpo Tour, and enjoy the informative ride! 

If you're interested in being a First Fridays Tour Guide, click here for more information.

Entertainment & Activities

Oktoberfest at Purple Porch Co-op

4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
123 N. Hill St.

Enjoy a free, family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration at the Purple Porch Co-op. There will be live Oompah and Polka music by The Will Smaka Band, traditional German foods, and great local brews. The menu will feature bratwurst from Jake's Country Meats, Bucket of Kraut from Farming for Life, warm potato salad, and apple streusel.   

Pumpkin Palooza at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe

4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

The first 200 visitors to the South Bend Chocolate Cafe this First Fridays will receive a free pumpkin to carve! Carving tools and table space will be available. 50 small pumpkins will also be available for the younger kids to carve, with assistance from the Council Oak Woodcarvers, who will aso be doing carving demonstrations and selling their handmade Christmas ornaments.

The pumpkins will be displayed on Michigan Street that evening as luminaries, and will be available to take home after that. Also check out free live music by Kevin Scott Joiner from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., try out their fall beverage specials, and take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo. Try their new S'mores Crunch! Ben's Pretzels (located inside the Chocolate Cafe) will also be offering a First Fridays special: 3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce.)

Oktoberfest Horse-Drawn Haywagon Rides 

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
by Chocolate Cafe

Get in the fall spirit by taking a horse-drawn haywagon ride from Dream Coach Carriages. These 15-minute rides will be filled with family fun and singing of traditional folk songs through downtown South Bend. Tickets are just $3 per person, excluding infants.  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  Pick up and drop off takes place right outside the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, and tickets go on sale shortly before 6:00 p.m. Don’t forget your camera! Stay up to date on all horse-drawn events by liking Dream Coach Carriages on Facebook.  

South Bend Cubs Open House

5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
501 W. South St.

The South Bend Cubs will host a special open house at Four Winds Field to coincide with First Fridays. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with free admission and parking. This open house will be a celebration of being named the Best Single-A Ballpark and breaking the franchise attendance record for the fourth consecutive year.

Some of the Four Winds Field amenities that will be open include the Toyota Fun Zone, 1st Source Bank Performance Center, special entertainment will be shown on the video board and South Bend Cubs mascot Stu D. Baker will be on hand to sign autographs and take pictures. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. The Cubs Den Team Store will have extended hours with a limited supply of Chicago Cubs post-season apparel available.

Artist Mixer at South Bend Museum of Art

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
120 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The South Bend Museum of Art invites everyone (not just artists) to their 2017 SBMA Artist Mixer. Come mix and mingle as SBMA celebrates local artists with art, music, treats, and libations. Enjoy live music by Eli Kahn from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with Fischer Dance responding to the music in real time, creating shifting tableaus and relationships, while artist Lauren Steinhofer interprets dancers’ movements with expressionistic gestural painting! There will also be an Art Exchange, and a slideshow of artist work within the SBMA's Art League Gallery. Artists - if you are interested in being included in the slideshow or Art Exchange, click here for more information.

OktoberFiesta at the new W XYZ Bar in the Aloft Hotel

8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
111 N. Main St.

South Bend Latin Dance is hosting a benefit dance this First Fridays in downtown South Bend's newest venue: the W XYZ Bar, located in the newly renovated Aloft Hotel.  In place of their usual cover fee, organizers are asking participants to contribute to one of three different charities: Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund, Caribbean Hurricane Maria & Irma Relief Fund, and/or La Casa de Amistad's Immigration and Citizenship Efforts. A beginner's lesson will take place at 8:00 p.m. for thirty minutes, followed by open dancing. Enjoy selections of salsa, bachata, merengue, cumbia and more. No previous dance experience or partner necessary. Everyone welcome. Dancing not required!

Guided Walking Tour of Historic West Washington District - Cancelled due to weather

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
302 W. Washington St.

We're switching up our normal historic walking tour that takes place during the summer First Fridays. This time we're touring the beautiful West Washington Street area, a National Register District showcasing an exemplary and eclectic blend of architectural styles and structures. Once home to influential citizens, titans of industry, civic leaders, and other prominent families; West Washington Street is now replete with businesses and residents that value and preserve the fine architectural legacy left in their care by those that preceded them.

Tours are given by the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend & St. Joseph County. Cost for these 90-minute tours are just $2/person (cash only.) Reservations can be made by clicking here or by calling 574-282-1110. This tour will meet at 5:30 at the historic Ambassadors for Christ Church, 302 W. Washington St. (the southwest corner of Washington and Lafayette.)

NOTE - We have made the decision to cancel the October tour due to the weather, but we have added a new November tour date to make up for this one. If you are interested in participating in the November Tour, you can make your reservation here.

Cinco 5 Anniversary Latin Dance Party

10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
112 W. Colfax Ave.

Cinco 5 is celebrating their three-year anniversary with a Latin dance party. The DJ will be playing bachata, cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, and more.

Historic Hoffman Hotel Tours

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
120 W. LaSalle Ave. 

The Hoffman Hotel Apartments will offer free tours of their renovated historic apartment spaces, along with free refreshments. The tours will be given every half hour (5:00, 5:30, 6:00, etc.)

Elephant Rescue at Vegetable Buddies

10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
129 N Michigan St.

Elephant Rescue is a three-piece band based out of Niles offering up a recipe of New Orleans Swamp Funk, Blues, Rock, Folk, and World flavors. Come out early for a great dinner and to make sure you get a good seat. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. with a 10:00 p.m. showtime. 21+, $8 cover.

Kennedy's Kitchen at Fiddler's Hearth

9:00 p.m. to midnight
127 N. Main St.

Enjoy free live music at Fiddler's Hearth by local Irish band Kennedy's Kitchen from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every First Fridays!

South Bend Elks Drug Awareness Trailer

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The South Bend Elks 235 will be at the Gridiron this First Fridays with their Drug Awareness Trailer and Elroy the Elk to teach young people about the dangers of drugs. It is kid-friendly with many hands-on activities in which children can learn about the hazard that drugs can have in their lives. Adults can also use the trailer as a resource to become more drug educated or aware. 

Tour the Golden Roamer: Mobile Visitor Center

4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The Golden Roamer is a 24-foot recreational vehicle complete with brochures for visitors detailing the area’s offerings as well as satellite TV, and more. It will be parked near the Gridiron this First Fridays - near the Chocolate Cafe - and you are invited to go inside and explore.

Food & Drink Specials

Shrimp Boil at Chicory Cafe

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Chicory Cafe will be hosting its Last Shrimp Boil of 2017 this First Fridays.  Each $15 order will receive gulf shrimp (boiled right in front of you), potatoes, corn on the cob, and andouille sausage. Enjoy it there or take it to go! While supplies last. Plus, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., take advantage of their regular First Fridays promotion of $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $6.00. There will also be live music by Doug Harsch from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and fall beers will be on tap.

Fall Food & Drink Specials at Vegetable Buddies

4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
129 N Michigan St.

Enjoy fall-themed food and drink specials at Vegetable Buddies this First Fridays: Frozen Apple Cider with cinnamon schnapps and dark rum for $6.50, and Mini Brats and Kraut with rye bread and whole grain mustard for $9.95.

Fall Drink Specials at South Bend Chocolate Cafe

6:00 a.m. to midnight
122 S. Michigan St.

In addition to pumpkin carving and live music, the South Bend Chocolate Cafe will be having some delicious fall drinks available this First Fridays, and throughout the fall season. Try their Pumpkin Spice Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Spiced Caramel Apple Cider, or Spooky Spice Chai. Click here for the prices and descriptions. Also take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo. Try their new S'mores Crunch! Ben's Pretzels (located inside the Chocolate Cafe) will also be offering a First Fridays special: 3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce.)

Fall Cocktail Special at Tapastrie

4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
103 W. Colfax Ave.

Enjoy a Wally original cocktail - “Love In Fall (An Autumnal Affair)” - at Tapastrie this First Fridays for $8 (normally $10).

$4 Octoberfest Pints at Barnaby's

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
713 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Barnaby's will have Sam Adams Octoberfest on tap for just $4 a pint. They are also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $19.95 plus tax. 

Beer and Spirits Tasting at City-Wide Liquors

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
109 E. Jefferson Blvd.

City-Wide LIquors will be having a free First Fridays tasting, with locally brewed beer from Devil’s Trumpet Brewery (Merriville, IN) and Burn’em Brewery, (Michigan City, IN.) Local distributor Carroll Wine & Spirits will also be offering samples of George Remus Bourbon, Tanner’s Creek Bourbon , Till Vodka, and Bacoo Rum. Must have valid ID to participate.

Retail Specials

Fragrance First Fridays at Ali on the Boulevard

10 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
722 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Ali on the Boulevard will be celebrating Fragrance First Fridays: for every $25 spent you will get a ticket to enter a drawing for their staff's favorite fragrance bundle. Three winners will be chosen. 

Annual Sidewalk Sale at Idle Hours Bookshop

5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
212 S. Michigan St.

Idle Hours Bookshop will be having their Annual Sidewalk Sale this First Fridays. Books will be $1.00 on the sale table outside - a perfect chance to start your Christmas shopping early!

Buy One Get One Half Off at The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery

5:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m.
217 S. Michigan St.

The Pigeon & The Hen Pottery will be having a sale on their Halloween items this First Fridays: Buy One Get One (of equal or lesser value) Half Off!

Friends of the Library Book Sale 

4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
333 S. Michigan St.

Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults at the Friends of the Library's First Fridays Book Sale from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Baker's Bar & Grill

123 N. St. Joseph St. 
Buy one appetizer, get one 50% off.


713 E. Jefferson Blvd.
$4 pints every First Fridays; also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $19.95 plus tax. 

Ben's Pretzels

122 S. Michigan St.
3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce).


131 S. Michigan St.
Get one 14" 1-topping pizza for $12

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.
Live music, $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $6.00

Edible Arrangements

123 S. Michigan St.
50% off a box of dipped fruit (pick-up)

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
New seasonal beer release 

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

122 S. Michigan St.
2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo

Therapeutic Indulgence

903 E. Jefferson
20% off gift cards

Tippecanoe Place

620 W. Washington St.
1/2 price appetizers In the Studebaker Lounge or Patio

Event Sponsors