Friday, October 3, 2014

It's Time For Oktoberfest!

 Every year Oktoberfest is held in Munich, Germany, and for two weeks--give or take a couple of days--the visitors to this 182 year old tradition have a really good time.  Millions of people visit Munich during the festivities, and a truly immeasurable amount of beer is served.  There are carnivals, parades, music, dancing, eating, drinking, contests, beer gardens and crowds everywhere you go.  There's just that something about October that says it's time to drink.  And we all love it.

However, most of us can't get away to Munich every fall just to drink and learn to play an Alpen Horn.  That's just the facts.  Let's face it, we can get beer almost anywhere, and we love to make an excuse to have an extra beer and some fun whenever we can.  We, the working folks who don't get to run off to Germany at the drop of a hat to have a bier need a way to celebrate the fall with polka music, beer, bright colored clothes, and a great festival.

So, in today's world, you can go to Oktoberfest in any number of locations, and some of them you probably hadn't really thought about.  Frankenmuth, MI.  If you didn't think of this one, then you weren't thinking very hard.  Frankenmuth is Michigan's taste of Germany all year round.  Bronner's is one of the most famous Christmas Stores in the country, and the whole town looks like it got up and walked to Michigan from Bavaria.  It's in September, so it's a little early, but it's a great party.

Fredericksburg, Texas.  Surprise!  There's a huge German community here, and they do both the polka and squaredancing at this festival.  They have parades, rides, oompa bands, and a lot of beer.  They also have the Haupstrasse Chicken Dance which you have to partake in to truly appreciate and a massive amount of Tuba music.


San Francisco.  Oktoberfest by the Bay is a great time, and the views are fabulous.  San Francisco has a whole lot of people from all backgrounds and the city loves to throw a party.  You'll find that this city celebrates most traditions from all over.  All the best stuff is here from parades to lots of beer and everyone has a really good time.

Minneapolis, Minnesota.  These guys brave the cold in October for their giant party that has spilled out all over the state fair grounds.  Long time famous for their Nordic backgrounds, some forget that there are a lot of German folks running around the state.  This is a big festival with lots of music, dancing, food, and of course beer.

I could go on forever about Oktoberfests from Tempe to Phoenix to all over Arizona.  I could talk about Asheville, North Carolina or Nashville, Tennessee.  From Columbus, OH to Denver, CO.  From Chicago, IL to Ft. Lauterdale, FL.  Everyone has some kind of October celebration that they call Oktoberfest.  My point is that you should look around and see what goes on in your area, so that you too, can partake in the festivities that make fall the amazing and fun time that it is.

My favorite Oktoberfest is on Hunter Mountain in the Catskills of New York.  These guys give you your choice of four weekends to come and enjoy what throughout the winter is an amazing ski resort.  There's music and fun for the kids.  You can polka until you can't stand anymore.  It's a great time to go and enjoy that foliage that I'm always talking about too.  I love to take the ski life up the mountain, and if you like, you can now zip line back and forth from mountain to mountain, 600 feet in the air.  It's a great place to go and relax, enjoy the music, enjoy the schnitzel, and have some beer.  There's not better way to get out in the fall, so take the time and find one of these great festivals in your area.  It's a true adventure for anyone.

So come and enjoy a tradition that actually started 182 years ago in Munich, but has brought a lot of happiness to the whole world, and seek out and find an Oktoberfest near you.

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