Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Norman, William C
Ramshaw , Gregory
Terry , William C
Helen, Georgia is nestled in a valley of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains along the Chattahoochee River in northeast Georgia. Originally a logging community serving as a stop for tourists to Anna Ruby Falls, Helen is now a faux-Bavarian town and the third largest tourist draw in the state. Research exists on 'theme towns' paying tribute to their cultural background by hosting seasonal events to boost tourism. There are also studies on residents of a town with an Oktoberfest, but little research exists concerning places using a not-native history to accomplish similar goals of producing cultural events that tourists see as authentic. This is of special interest considering that the Helen Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Oktoberfest to simulate the original festival in Munich, Germany at their festhalle, despite not being a historically German settlement. Originally, the Chamber of Commerce festhalle was the only Oktoberfest, but now the rest of Helen celebrates The purpose of this study was to determine whether Oktoberfest tourists were culturally motivated to chose Helen's 43rd Annual Oktoberfest, festival attributes and experiences were important to tourists, whether they viewed Helen as an authentic host, and finally if these differed between the Chamber of Commerce's festhalle and the Konig Ludwig Biergarden. Tourist interviews were conducted at these two locations during October 2013. The study found that tourists valued the Oktoberfest experience shared with their group and placed equal importance on the festival having German beer and food, and dancing. Tourists to the Chamber of Commerce festhalle were more culturally motivated, placed more importance on German music and clothing, and found the festival to be more authentic than tourists at the Konig Ludwig Biergarden.
Gunnels, Janet Marie, "An examination of cultural motives, festival motivator attributes, desired experiences and authenticity in tourists to Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia" (2014). All Theses. 1945.