Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's Time For Oktoberfest!

It's that magical time of year when one and all gather to celebrate fall, the harvest, the bounty of life, music, food, and especially the beer.  Oktoberfest season is here!  So come one, come all to the celebrations that make us all a little more festive even if we have nothing to be festive about.  So, put on you liederhosen, get your Alpenhorn, grab a stein and head out for a polka.  I just thought I would take a moment to mention that since almost none of us are able to take weeks off and go party in Munich, there are some great Oktoberfests around the United States that you can check in on.  Let's see what we've got.

Zinzinnatti.  This is Cincinnati, Ohio's big giant Oktoberfest with all the polka music, bier, and liederhosen you could ever hope for.  This is reportedly the largest of all the Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S.  It attracts about a half million visitors each year and has rides and food for all.

Addison, Texas.  This is labeled as the most authentic Oktoberfest outside of Munich.  The beer halls are large, the music is accordion, the Brats are authentic, and the beer is plentiful.  It is only four days in September as opposed to some other festivals that run for several weekends, but it attracts 70,000 people in those four days and is a huge blowout.

Leavenworth, Washington.  These guys have an authentic looking Bavarian village to throw out there for effect.  It makes sense that a town that looks like Bavaria would have a several weekends long festival to celebrate all things Oktoberfest.  150,000 people come in for this one over the four weekends, and there are plenty of contests, music, food, and of course, beer.

Phoenix, Arizona.  That's right, somewhere between all the Southwestern culture, the wild west, and the much awaited end of the extreme heat is the Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake.  It's not held until mid October, which makes it one of the later festivals in this season.  You will find lots of beer, but in addition to German food, you will find some great southwestern food at this festival.  You'll also find that there are some different activities like the garage band contest and the John Madden Football Tournament.

Tulsa, Oklahoma.  That's right, Bon Apetit Magazine named this one of the best spots to celebrate Oktoberfest in the world.  Not joking.  If you've ever wondered what goes on in Tulsa, this is your chance to check it out.  They have all the authentic food, beer, dancing, music, costumes and so on as well as a carnival and great contests.

Torrance, California.  USA Today chose this festival as one of the top ones in the world.  They have a great Alpine Village there and do every single authentic Oktoberfest ritual from the contests to the beer to the music to the food to the rides.  100,000 visitors come each year.

Mainstrasse Village Oktoberfest.  Covington, Kentucky has won many awards over the four decades that they have been throwing their authentic Oktoberfest.  This one has more family fun than some of them with family friendly entertainment, food, and contests; however it's all authentic Bavarian stuff and the food has been ranked some of the best of it's kind in the country.

Helen, Georgia.  This is the southeast's best of the best.  For four decades this tiny little town turns into a party central for four weekends in the fall.  They have all the authentic foods, beverages, arts and crafts, music and more.  It's the thing that puts this place on the map and is visited by thousands each year.

Hofbrauhause Las Vegas.  Welcome to an authentic replica of the Munich destination ground zero for all things Oktoberfest.  As usual, Las Vegas does things up right with a multi weekend Oktoberfest that gives one the impression that they are indeed, in Bavaria at the Munich event.

Harpoon Oktoberfest.  Boston Brewery puts this on in late September every year.  It's small but a whole lot of fun.  They bring all the fun and shenanigans to a single location in Boston to celebrate all things Bavarian, especially the bier.  Thousands of people attend this 20 year and still running event.

So, you may want to check out one of the above listed Oktoberfests or some more like:  Oktoberfest in Hermann, Missouri; Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake, California; Denver Oktoberfest in Denver, Colorado;  Oktoberfest in Mount Angel, Oregon; Oktoberfest in LaCrosse, Wisconsin;  Oktoberfest in Stowe, Vermont; International Oktoberfest in Newport, Rhode Island; New Ulm Oktoberfest in New Ulm, Minnesota; and Oktoberfest in Historic Germantown, Nashville, Tennessee.

So, take some time, enjoy the parties, come join the crowds, do some dancing, eat some great food and try all the beer.  It's fall and it's time for Oktoberfest!

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