Munich may be the hub of traditional Oktoberfest action, but all across the world, people come together to indulge their love of beer, sample a few smoked meats, and don some stylish lederhosen.
Here are a few of the best Oktoberfests in the U.S. that you should definitely know about.
Mt. Angel, Oregon
Come for the street dancing, the car show, and the delicious crafts beers, but stay for the family-friendly environment. The Mt. Angel Oktoberfest offers visitors the chance to show off their dance moves and sample a wide variety of German-style beers. With over 50 years of celebrations under its belt, Mt. Angel boasts the traditional harvest monument, Die Fruchtsäule, that symbolizes both bounty and good fortune. Just 40 miles from the heart of Portland, this is a great spot for chicken dancers of all ages!
With deep German roots, Fredericksburg is home to one of the nation’s most sought-after Oktoberfests. From the oompah-inspired OkTUBAfest to the 8K Oktoberfest Kraut Run, this Texas-sized party has plenty for everyone. Get the family together for the infamous Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance and indulge your inner choreographer for some fun on Main Street. Afterward, snag a spot at one of the family-style tables and dive into a plate of freshly smoked German meats, but don’t forget to wash it down with a stein-full of local suds.
Featuring events at four different venues spaced out over three separate weekends, the Leavenworth Oktoberfest claims to be the best outside of Munich. Watch the ceremonial keg tapping every Saturday at 1 p.m. and then grab a brat from one of the local producers. Showcasing children’s entertainment, musical groups from all over the world, and a shuttle to put the fun at your fingertips, the Leavenworth Oktoberfest is definitely one not to miss.
Big Bear Lake, California
Just under 100 miles east of Los Angeles, the Oktoberfest festivities in Big Bear Lake set the tone for the alpine town. Importing bands directly from Germany and a bevy of ice-cold brews, the party has earned its spot as one of the best Oktoberfests in the U.S. Sample the knockwurst and bratwurst from the authentic German butcher while the kids have fun in the Budenstrasse (Avenue of the Booths) and the Kinder Garten with face painting and balloon animals.
As the oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebration in Southern California, the Alpine Village Oktoberfest in Torrance provides the ideal spot to do some funky chicken dancing while the oompah bands play festive Bavarian tunes. Dip your giant Bavarian pretzel in spicy mustard and cool it down with an ice-cold sip from your stein. Steal a bite of your friend’s apple strudel and then take the kids over to the Alpine Market to pick up a souvenir to remember your fun-filled day.
Let yourself go and show off your dance moves as the accordions play alongside the alpenhorns at the Helen Oktoberfest. Put on your best lederhosen while you sample the wide offerings of brats, brews, and tasty bites. Gemütlichkeit, the German word for friendliness and good cheer, flows freely. Grab your partner and do a little bit of traditional polka before quenching your thirst with one of the many beers in the dog-friendly Biergarten. You won’t have to worry about the kids showing you up on the dance floor: with family friendly spaces, the kids have their own space to dance the day away.
Since 1980, the annual parade in Germantown has kicked off the Nashville Oktoberfest. Sign up to be one of the over 1,500 runners in the 5K Bier Run and then snag a spot to watch the Pup Parade and Dachshund Derby. Dare your buddy to enter the brat eating contest while you watch from the sidelines with your traditional Oktoberfest brew. With something for all ages (and dog friendly), this is a Bavarian blast for the whole family.
Voted as the best Oktoberfest in the USA by both Maxim and USA Today, the Denver Oktoberfest is kicking on all German-made cylinders. Test your strength at the stein-hoisting competition or try your hand at some keg bowling. Cheer on the pups in the Long Dog Run or do the chicken dance while oompah music fills the alpine air. From brews to brats, this Oktoberfest features the best of German culinary contributions.
If you’re looking for the ideal spot to break out your best dance moves and dive into a plate of beer-soaked brats, then make your way to one of these top-tier Oktoberfests and celebrate the true meaning of Gemütlichkeit!
Featured photo courtesy of Andrew Mager
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