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10 authentic Oktoberfests in the U.S. you should know about

  • Oktoberfest is celebrated across the country

    Despite its name, Oktoberfest actually begins in September. Traditionally, the festivities run over the two weeks leading up to the first Sunday in October. The inspiration for this Bavarian festival began over 200 years ago when Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The celebration was so popular it became an annual event. The epicenter of Oktoberfest is Munich, the capital city of Bavaria. But you don’t have to cross the Atlantic to get a taste of Germany’s largest Volksfest! There are plenty of Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the United States – and these are the most authentic.

    Photo courtesy of E+ / wundervisuals

  • Leavenworth's Oktoberfest lasts three weekends and occupies four venues!

    Leavenworth Oktoberfest | Washington

    Leavenworth, Washington looks like a Bavarian village 365 days a year, but when it’s time for Oktoberfest, this town cranks the German vibes up to 11! The alpine hills that frame Leavenworth give it the Bavarian backdrop that will make you feel like you’ve traveled all the way to Germany. Over the course of three weekends, Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest delights visitors with live music, polka dancing, traditional German foods and, of course, beer. To keep things as authentic as possible, the event is put on by Projekt Bayern, whose main mission is to "make Leavenworth more authentically Bavarian in nature."

    Photo courtesy of Icicle TV

  • A fan favorite at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the "Running of the Wieners"!

    Oktoberfest Zinzinnati | Ohio

    Southwest Ohio is home to a rich German-American heritage and Cincinnati’s "Oktoberfest Zinzinnati" is a celebration showcasing the region’s traditions. Considered to be America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, Zinzinnati estimates that around 575,000 attendees take part in activities such as a dachshund race known as the "Running of the Wieners," as well as the "Gemuetlichkeit (Goodwill) Games," which feature a beer stein race and a beer barrel roll. This Oktoberfest takes over 2nd and 3rd streets between Elm and Walnut in downtown Cincinnati, and has five beer gardens and four fest tents.

    Photo courtesy of Leigh Taylor

  • This year, Frankenmuth Oktoberfest celebrates 30 years of good music, good food and good fun!

    Frankenmuth Oktoberfest | Michigan

    For 30 years, Frankenmuth, nicknamed "Michigan’s Little Bavaria," has been hosting one of the state’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations. For four days in September, guests are invited to dance to authentic German music, indulge in German fare and drink Hofbrauhaus beer imported straight from Germany!

    Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa is a massive fanfare held at the newly renovated River West Festival Park, which expands the festival to over 116,000 square feet.

    Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa | Oklahoma

    The Linde Oktoberfest in Tulsa, Oklahoma is everything you’d expect from an Oktoberfest – and then some. The food is one of the main attractions, featuring traditional German dishes, as well as American classics like a Tulsa Dog with mustard and jalapeño relish. For four days, thousands are invited to take part in a jam-packed schedule of events, ranging from the Parade of Brewers to friendly contests like the Strong Stein Competition, a challenge to see who can hold 34 ounces of beer the longest.

    Photo courtesy of Tulsa Oktoberfest, Inc.

  • The Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia is celebration is considered to be the longest running celebration of its kind in the United States.

    Helen Oktoberfest | Georgia

    When you think about Georgia, German culture might be the furthest thing from your mind. But surprisingly, the city of Helen is a pocket of German culture complete with Bavarian-style buildings and vineyards set in a mountainous landscape. For nearly 50 years, Helen, Georgia has been putting on one of the best Oktoberfests in the South. Most festivities are held in the Festhalle, where you’ll find traditional food and dancing. But after you’ve had your fill of Oktoberfest beer, check out the nearby vineyards to get a taste of Georgia’s wine country!

    Photo courtesy of Helen Georgia Alpine Helen White County Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • There's plenty of fun to be had for the whole family at Fredericksburg's Oktoberfest!

    Fredericksburg Oktoberfest | Texas

    Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a town whose German heritage has earned it the title of "Polka Capital of Texas." There’s no shortage of events over this three-day celebration. The highlights of Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest include the OkTubaFest, the Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance and the 42 Tournament, a domino game that is synonymous with the state of Texas.

    Photo courtesy of Robbyn Dodd

  • The Four Peaks Oktoberfest is a celebration that goes toward a charitable cause!

    Four Peaks Oktoberfest | Arizona

    For over 45 years, Tempe has hosted the Four Peaks Oktoberfest, which is the classic Bavarian-style celebration with a Southwestern twist. The event is put on by Tempe Sister Cities and it’s an annual fundraiser to help promote multiculturalism. Money raised not only brings high school students and teachers from around the world to Tempe, but also helps Tempe high school students visit international cities. What's better than a fun festival where proceeds go toward a good cause? In addition to traditionally German activities like polka dancing and German fare, Four Peaks Oktoberfest also puts on a carnival complete with games and rides.

    Photo courtesy of Four Peaks Oktoberfest

  • The New Ulm Oktoberfest was chosen as one of USA TODAY 10Best's Readers' Choice Award for Top 10 Oktoberfests in 2015 and 2017!

    New Ulm Oktoberfest | Minnesota

    Named after the Bavarian city of Ulm, New Ulm in Minnesota hosts an authentic Oktoberfest over two weekends. The event kicks off with the Germanic-American Day Parade, with a route that leads to the middle of the Downtown Oktoberfest where the celebration can begin. Aside from locally brewed beer and local wines, New Ulm’s Oktoberfest has plenty of games, contests and even horse-drawn trolley rides.

    Photo courtesy of Schell's Brewery, New Ulm

  • Johannes von Trapp, and his two children – his son Sam von Trapp and his daughter Kristina von Trapp Frame.

    Trapp Family Lodge & von Trapp Brewing Oktoberfest | Vermont

    Have you ever wondered what happened to the von Trapp family after they left Austria? The family, who are the subjects of the famous musical and movie, The Sound of Music, went to Stowe, Vermont where descendants still run a farmstead, lodge and brewery. For the 10th year in a row, the Trapp Family Lodge is hosting an Oktoberfest celebration, complete with Austrian-inspired beer and food.

    Photo courtesy of Trapp Family Lodge

  • A bit of German flair close to the beach, the Alpine Village Oktoberfest is a surprising taste of Bavaria just outside of Los Angeles.

    Alpine Village Oktoberfest | California

    Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Alpine Village puts on one of Southern California’s largest Oktoberfest celebrations. This "little slice of Bavaria" in Los Angeles goes to great lengths to make this festival as authentic as possible by styling their restaurant to look like a "bier hall," bringing the Haderlumpen band in from Germany, and importing HofBrau beer. It’s a traditional German party only 10 miles away from some of the best beaches in Southern California!

    Photo courtesy of Alpine Village

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