Ten Top American Oktoberfests
After wrapping up in Germany, the beer festival is in full effect in the U.S.
More than 200 years ago, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the royal couple invited Bavarian citizens to celebrate their union—and it proved to be the party of the century. In fact, they decided to repeat it the following year, and the year after that, and thus was born the world’s most famous beer event, Oktoberfest.
And while it wrapped up in Germany on Monday (after drawing in 7 million visitors), the beer-and-brat events have only begun across the U.S. Here are the top 10 American Oktorberfest celebrations:
German traditions live on in Pennsylvania Dutch country, so it makes sense that this long-surviving craft brewery would put on a fiercely Teutonic Oktoberfest, complete with German music and food, and of course, plenty of beer.
2800 North Reading Road, Adamstown, Pennsylvania
Every Sunday in October from noon–8pm
It’s only natural that this Bavarian-themed town nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains would run their own Oktoberfest (and it’s a good one), drawing upwards of 10,000 visitors per weekend!
Front Street between 10th and 12th Streets, Leavenworth, Washington
October 7 & 14 from 6pm–1am; October 8 & 15 from noon–1am
Admission $10 on Fridays, $15 on Saturdays
North America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration consumes this southern Ontario town—once known as Berlin!—for two weeks in mid-month, featuring 18 Festhallen (or festival halls) and events from an Onkel Hans 5K Fun Run to a Miss Oktoberfest Gala Ball.
Throughout Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
October 7–15; hours vary
Prices for events vary
Maryland Brewer’s Oktoberfest
Arguably more a beer festival than a true Oktoberfest, this event features more than 80 beers from 15 breweries, maintaining its German bona fides with plenty of sausages and sauerbraten, Germanic tunes and a “carry your wife” contest.
Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland
October 8 from noon–6pm (VIP admission at 11am)
Tickets $20, VIP tickets $35; Designated driver tickets $15
Oktoberfest Tampa 2011
The big draw for this three-day outdoor event is the beer, or more specifically, Florida’s only kegs of Bavarian Royal Wedding Festbier, brewed by the descendent of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig, the Bavarian royal whose wedding started it all.
Tampa Water Works Park, 1710 N. Highland Avenue, Tampa, Florida
October 14 from 3pm–midnight; October 15 from 10am–midnight; October 16 from 11am–9:00pm
Admission $8, weekend pass for $15
Connecticut Tigers 2011 Octoberfest
So what if a minor league baseball team and a chili cook-off aren’t exactly the most authentically German themes around? This afternoon affair features live music, chili and plenty of beers that promise a good time.
Dodd Stadium, 14 Stott Avenue, Norwich, Connecticut
October 15 from 1pm–5pm
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door
Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest
One of central California’s finest breweries known for its wood-conditioned beers (hence the name Oaktoberfest?) presents this miniature homage to the great Munich Oktoberfest, including keg tossing and stein carrying competitions, all in the name of charity.
Avila Beach Golf Resort, 6464 Ana Bay Drive, Avila Beach, California
October 15 from 11am–4pm
Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door
With its mix of carnival rides and beer tents, this is arguably the most Munich-like Oktoberfest in the U.S., which makes it attractive to families and nighttime revelers alike. Other diversions include arts and crafts and wiener dog races.
River West Festival Park, 2100 South Jackson Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma
October 20–23; hours vary
This family-owned lakeside resort highlights the more genial side of Oktoberfest with a weekend of clowns and kegs, polkas and German-themed buffets. Where else can you combine your Oktoberfest experience with spa treatments?
Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, 25039 Tame Fish Lake Road, Deerwood, Minnesota
October 21–23, events throughout
Although admittedly a little late to be considered an Oktoberfest, there can be no questioning the German inspiration behind this 40-year-old sausage festival, which draws more than 100,000 visitors annually to Texas Hill Country. There is beer and entertainment, too, but here it’s all about the wurst!
120 Landa Street, New Braunfels, Texas
November 4–13, open from 5pm weekdays and 11am weekends
Admission $6 in advance, $8 at the door