8 Oktoberfests That Will Make You Yell “Oompah!”

8 Oktoberfests That Will Make You Yell “Oompah!”

Millions turn into honorary Deutschers during autumn's Oktoberfests. Try these 8 authentically German places to get your bratwurst and Bier.

Oompah, 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 delicious history of Oktoberfest | FamilyTreeMagazine.com

 Crown Prince Ludwig, 1807
The party was such a hit that it blossomed into an annual fall harvest festival.
Munich’s Oktoberfest, where 7 million visitors wash down innumerable sausages, roasted chickens and pork knuckles with 14 million mass (liters of beer), runs every year. Admission is free.
Celebrate Oktoberfest with sausage and these Oktoberfest facts | FamilyTreeMagazine.com 

With about 500,000 revelers, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, 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. 
Bucket list: Visit Germany for Oktoberfest 
Bucket list: Oktoberfest in Munich

If a small-town celebration is more your speed, head to North Dakota, where 61% of residents have German ancestors. The New Leipzig Annual Oktoberfest has beer-stein races, a nail-pounding competition and a Biggest Grasshopper Contest. 

La Crosse, Wisconsin, home to eight German-American-owned breweries in the late 19th century, has celebrated Oktoberfest, USA since 1961. It now welcomes 175,000 visitors to LaCrosse Festgrounds annually. Parades — the Maple Leaf Parade, the Kids Day Parade and the Torchlight Parade — are the La Crosse party’s claim to fame. 

Michigan’s “Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth, first celebrated Oktoberfest 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. 


The German settlers who founded Fredericksburg, Texas, in 1846 named their town for the Prussian prince. Although their descendants didn’t start celebrating Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest, until 1981, the festival is a German heritage showcase: 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.


More than one in five Tulsa, Okla., residents claim German heritage. About 200,000 of them and their friends turn out for Bier Barrel Racing, carnival rides, a Polka Mass and a Volksmarsch at Tulsa Oktoberfest, named by USA Today as one of 10 great places to toast Oktoberfest worldwide. 

Leavenworth, Washington, a charming Bavarian-village look-alike, adds a used Bavarian clothing sale to its annual Oktoberfest. You also can work off the carbs from all that dark beer in the Oktoberun run/walk. 
For more help discovering your family history in Germany, see Family Tree Magazine‘s German Genealogy Guide Digital Download, available from Family Tree Shop

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Learn the delicious history of Oktoberfest on FamilyTreeMagazine.com. I want to go to Munich's! 

A version of this article appeared in the October 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine

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