Millions turn into honorary Deutschers during autumn's Oktoberfests. Try these eight authentically German places to get your bratwurst and
bratwurst, hot pretzels, dark beer… ahh, the much-honored German
tradition of Oktoberfest. It all started in Munich as a wedding
celebration for Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese von
Sachsen-Hildburghausen on the second-to-last weekend of September 1810.
The party was such a hit that it blossomed into an annual fall harvest
where 7 million visitors wash down innumerable sausages, roasted
chickens and pork knuckles with 14 million mass (liters of beer), runs
Sept. 14 to Oct. 3 this year. Admission is free.
about 500,000 revelers, Oktoberfest
Zinzinnati (800-246-9872, <www.oktoberfest-zinzinnati.com>),
in Cincinnati, ranks as the world's second-largest Oktoberfest.
Cincinnatians—who call part of their city Over the Rhine, after its
original German residents—get competitive about their event: In 1994,
48,000 people tossed dignity aside and flapped their way to a record
for the World's Largest Chicken Dance. This year's free celebration
takes place downtown Sept. 18 and 19.
a small-town celebration is more your speed, head to North Dakota,
where 61 percent of residents have German ancestors. The
New Leipzig Annual Oktoberfest
has beer-stein races, a nail-pounding competition and a Biggest
Grasshopper Contest. Hop over to Main Street Sept. 24 to 26 for the
La Crosse, Wis., home to eight German-American-owned breweries in the late 19th century, has celebrated Oktoberfest,
USA (608-784-3378, <www.oktoberfestusa.com>)
since 1961. It now welcomes 175,000 visitors to LaCrosse Festgrounds
annually (Sept. 24 to Oct. 2 this year). Parades — the Maple Leaf
Parade, the Kids Day Parade and the Torchlight Parade — are the La
Crosse party's claim to fame. Admission buttons cost $5; hats cost $20.
Children 12 and under get in free.
“Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth, first
celebrated Oktoberfest (800-386-8696,
in 1990 to mark Germany's reunification. A representative from the
town's German sister city, Gunzenhausen, helps cut the ceremonial
ribbon; the first keg tapping follows. Don't miss the quaint
Alpine-style architecture on Main Street. Most events take place at
Heritage Park Sept. 16 to 19. Admission costs $6; it's free for kids 15
The German settlers who founded Fredericksburg, Texas,
in 1846 named their town for the Prussian prince. Although their
didn't start celebrating Fredericksburg's
Oktoberfest (830-997-4810, <www.oktoberfestinfbg.com>)
until 1981, the festival is a German heritage showcase. Oct. 1 to 3,
Marketplatz will host 25-plus oompah bands, polka and waltz contests,
local artisans, a Kinder Park for little ones and the requisite German
Bier tent. Admission costs $6 for adults and $1 for kids ages 6 to 12.
than one in five Tulsa, Okla., residents claim German heritage. About
200,000 of them and their friends turn out for Bier Barrel Racing,
rides, a Polka Mass and a Volksmarsch at Tulsa
Oktoberfest (918-744-9700, <www.tulsaoktoberfest.org>)— named by USA Today as one of 10 great places to toast Oktoberfest
worldwide. Join the revelers Oct. 21 to 24 at River West Festival Park.
Admission costs $3; children ages 12 and under get in free.
a charming Bavarian-village look-alike, adds a
used Bavarian clothing sale to its annual Oktoberfest (509-548-7021,
held downtown Oct. 1 and 2, and 8 and 9. You also can work off the
carbs from all that dark beer in the Oktoberun run/walk. Oktoberfest
admission costs $5 on Friday and $7 on Saturday; children under 12
enter free with an adult.
From the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine