Oktoberfest in the US and Canada
Originating in Munich, the sound of lively Bavarian music and the smell of fresh-rilled bratwurst fills the air during the “largest people’s fair in the world” held in late September and early October. This event is superfun and the people are superfriendly. And you’re guaranteed to meet travelers from around the world at your long wooden table.
You’ll find yourself dancing on the tables and downing some of the best beer in the world! But be careful, as Bavarian beer is 8% alcohol compared to most American beers (which are only 3%).
Yes, those dirndl-wearing girls can really carry 10 large liters of beer at a time! Yes, the Hofbrauhaus tent is cool, but also duck into a real German Tent that doesn’t only have Americans and Aussies – so you can get the true German essence of this amazing event.
Originally set as a commemoration of the Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage in 1810, today the festival signifies German beer, sauerkraut and a terrific atmosphere honoring the German heritage.
And don’t even think about drinking the Germans under the table as they will win every time! Don’t believe us? Thirty percent of the year’s production of beer by Bavarian breweries is consumed on average during these two weeks.
What to pack: Tolerance and thirst for some brew.
Are you missing the festival in Munich, don’t worry…grab a Warsteiner and get into the spirit right here in the US and Canada. journeyPod has searched, one beer and sausage at a time, for the best places to celebrate Oktoberfest in the US and Canada:
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada - This annual 9-day festival takes place in the twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo. Outside of Munich, this is the largest celebration, attracting close to a million party people. Look out for the festival mascot “Onkel Hans”, a rotound man in Bavarian dress: thick mustache, lederhosen and traditional felt hat. He will most likely be holding a beer stein and encouraging you to drink up. Psst… to all the men out there – don’t let your wife catch you oogling the Miss Oktoberfest, a chosen beauty pageant representing the German festival. The Oktoberfest parade is held on Canada’s Thanksgiving and boasts costumes, floats and music. Oh, and keep an ear out for the annual dogtoberfest and prideoberfest – also held at the same time of year.
Helen, GA. – This quaint German village is the closest you’ll get to Bavaria. The architecture represents South Germany, with gingerbread trimmed cottages nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll almost feel like you’re [art of the Von Trapp family as you stoll along the Chattahoochee River and take in the sights. Tourists camp out or stay in one of the cute B&Bs in Helen during the months of September and October. Residents of Helen take the German tradition very seriously and you’re bound to run into little Hans Juergens’ running around with their southern accents.
Solvang, California – This Dutch town in California is a true gem and popular among many Californians to take a family vacation to during the fall months. Horse carriages, lederhosen and local folk dance make up the scenery night after night. The smell of fresh Wiener Schnitzel and Kaese Spaetzle fill the air as families take a stroll on the cobblestone road and admire the beauty of old with new.
New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, Texas – Smack in the middle of the Stetson charm that we label as Texas is this small german town. Meatlovers get ready… to fast before the Wurstfest, that is. This is a 10-day festival featuring every type of German sausage imaginable. During the first week of Oktoberfest make sure to wear your dancing shoes and carry your alcohol tolerance and head to Fredericksburg to dance the night away old German-style.
Cincinnati, Ohio – Over 700,000 people jam the streets during “Zinzinnati” (their version of Oktoberfest). Vendors line the streets promoting their sauerkraut and knockwurst as being the best. Guess you’re going to have to try each one to figure out which really is the best! By the end of the evening, the sight of strangers embracing and toasting their Paulaners to life and the creation of beer is overwhelming.
Staudts Brewing Company, Adamstown, Pensylvania – The Pensylvania Dutch sure know how to throw a grand party! Every Sunday in October, partygoers pull up their dirndl and lederhosen and merrily dance to “oompah’ music, while a giant pig roasts over the fire. Bring the kids to the Christkindlmarkt and start collecting your traditional German Christmas ornaments.
Crystal Brook Resort, New York – Upon entering this German resort you are greeted by the native accent, making you really feel like you’re somewhere in the Blackforrest region. Located in the Catskill region of New York, this unique retreat offers incredible packages which include 3 homecooked meals! Head over to Hunter Mountain during the busy months of September and October for some excellent live entertainment.
Moon River Brewing Co., Savannah, Georgia – Both Oktoberfest and St. Patricks Day attract the beer enthusiasts to this microbrewery located in the heart of Savannah. Interested in learning more about how beer is brewed, what a malt is, and the difference between bitter and finishing hops? Just call ahead and let the Brew Master John Pinkerton give you a tour and tasting. Their signature “Claire de Lune” beer is an interpretation of the Kolsch beer from Cologne. Just like with wine – make sure you let your server pair your favorite beer with the perfect dish.
Hallo Berlin, New York – New Yorkers let down their hair at this hip biergarten located in the West Side of Manhattan. Take off your tie and suit and relax at one of the picnic tables outdoor. Throw down a Becks and dip your wurst into senf ( German for “mustard”). Hallo is only open during the warm months in New York.