As autumn approaches, it’s time to don lederhosen and dirndls and raise a beer stein in honor of Oktoberfest. While the Bavarian festival is rooted in 19th-century Germany, the popularity of the fall festival is prevalent throughout the US. The original Oktoberfest event was celebrated in 1810 on the wedding day of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The couple held public festivities that were so much fun that locals decided to host a similar party on the couple’s first anniversary and the tradition has been around ever since.
Oktoberfest events are filled with beer, polka music, games and iconic fall foliage are held from coast to coast, most coinciding with the 17-day Oktoberfest in Munich, the original festival. Can’t travel to Germany? No problem! Get ready to raise a beer stein at the best Oktoberfest events in the US.
Since 1987, the city of Addison has put a Texas twist on the traditional Oktoberfest event. The four-day festival includes lots of German beer and food like brats, strudel, and pretzels and contests like the Dachshund Dash, Masskrugstemmen (stein hoisting) challenge, and Bier Barrel Rolling. The 36th annual Addison Oktoberfest is September 14-17, 2023.
For half a century, Oktoberfest has been celebrated in the mountains of Big Bear Lake in Southern California. One of the West Coast’s largest Oktoberfests kicked off when German immigrants Hans and Erika Bandows purchased a lodge in Big Bear Lake. After their first winter and summer season, the couple wanted to celebrate and say thanks with an authentic Oktoberfest. Today, the revelry continues with German polka, food, and the same beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich. The 53rd annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest dates will be announced July 2023!
Each September, Downtown Denver gets festive with Bavarian dance, music, food, and beer. The six-day event includes a variety of Oktoberfest events and contests, including beer stein hoisting, keg bowling, brat eating, and the Long Dog Derby, which determines Denver’s fastest dachshunds. The 53rd annual Denver Oktoberfest dates are TBD!
The three-day Four Peaks Oktoberfest in Tempe, Arizona, offers fun for the entire family. Weekend activities include the AZTV7 Das 29th Oktoberfest Runnin’ for the Bräts 10K run, 5K run/walk, and 1 mile run/walk, a US Steinholding Association sanctioned stein holding contest, a Weiner Invitational, which crowns the fastest pure-bred German dachshunds, a Kinderfest that includes a Hansel & Gretel village, and a carnival. The 33rd annual Four Peaks Oktoberfest is October 13-15, 2023.
In 1996, the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest was given an official proclamation from the German Parliament in Munich to support this Oktoberfest event, which has been running since 1997. The four-day event offers an authentic version of Munich’s celebration with entertainment, dancing, souvenirs, wiener dog races, and food, including bratwurst, Weisswurst, pretzels, and beer from Hofbräuhaus brewery. The annual Frankenmuth Oktoberfest is September 14-17, 2023.
Held in the polka capitol of Texas, Fredericksburg Oktoberfest is three days of music, food, and fun. Festival-goers can choose from more than 40 beers, including 14 German beers, and savor German specialties like frankfurters, flammekueche, and schnitzel. With five stages, there’s plenty of live music, dancing, and oompah. The 43rd annual Fredericksburg Oktoberfest is October 6th to October 8th, 2023.
The longest-running Oktoberfest in the US, Helen Oktoberfest in Northeast Georgia hosts more than a month of festivities. Sit at long communal tables and listen to live music while sipping steins of German beer, eating plates of authentic German treats, and partaking in gemütlichkeit (friendliness). The annual Helen Oktoberfest begins September 7 and runs through October 29, 2023.
Every day is Oktoberfest at the Las Vegas outpost of the famed Hofbräuhaus, but it’s all ratched up a few notches each fall during their annual Oktoberfest event. The only exact replica in the world of the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany, this Las Vegas beer hall boasts live music nightly that ignites sing-alongs and dancing in the aisles. Planning a trip to Las Vegas this fall? The Oktoberfest festivities at Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas will kick off in September, 2023 (dates TBD).
While the Leavenworth Oktoberfest is moving to nearby Wenatchee, WA this year, the festival retains the same spirited fun. Each Saturday at noon, there is a Bavarian procession with paraders wearing traditional Bavarian dirndls and lederhosen who march to Bavarian polkas and marches. The 24th annual Leavenworth Oktoberfest is held over three weekends: September 29-30, October 6-7, and October 13-14, 2023.
One of the earliest Oktoberfests events in season is Milwaukee Oktoberfest, which is held the last weekend of August. Overlooking Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee city skyline, the three-day celebration includes polka music, a wiener dog pageant, a brat eating contest, and food and beverage from Kegel’s Inn. A portion of proceeds from this free event go to The War Memorial, a memorial to honor those who have served in the US Armed Services. The annual Milwaukee Oktoberfest will take place October 6-8, 2023.
The largest folk festival in the Northwest US, Mt Angel Oktoberfest is a massive celebration of Oktoberfest, but the town has reminders of its German-Swiss-Bavarian heritage year-round like the Mount Angel Glockenspiel, which plays four times daily, and Maibaum: a tall wooden tree depicting local trades. There are traditional Oktoberfest festivities like music, dancing, and feasting, and non-traditional like the Die Fruchtsäule, a harvest monument under the Mount Angel Glockenspiel, weiner dog races, a car show, a golf tournament, and volkswalks (non-competitive walking events). Every Oktoberfest food purchase supports a non-profit organization. The annual Mt Angel Oktoberfest is September 14-17, 2023.
Held during the first two weekends in October each year, the New Ulm Oktoberfest is hosted at several venues in town, including New Ulm‘s historic downtown, Best Western Plus, Morgan Creek Vineyards, and Schell’s Brewery. One of the highlights of the New Ulm’s Oktoberfest events is the Germanic-American Day parade on October 8. The 40th annual New Ulm Oktoberfest is October 6-7 and October 13-14, 2023.
Held at River West Festival Park, Oktoberfest Tulsa features 200 types of beer along with 140,000-square feet of fun that includes Bavarian food and activities like beer barrel racing, stein hoisting, MassKrug Relay, and live music. Pre-Oktoberfest events include a private dinner at Lufthansa Technik BierGarten and the Gemütlichkeit evening on the eve of Oktoberfest Tulsa. The 43rd annual Oktoberfest Tulsa is October 19-22, 2023.
The longest running Oktoberfest event in the Midwest, Oktoberfest, USA has been celebrating German heritage since 1961. In addition to food, drinks, and music, there are two historic parades: The Torchlight Parade on the first night of Oktoberfest and The Maple Leaf Parade on the last day. The 63rd annual Oktoberfest, USA is held in La Crosse, Wisconsin, from September 28 to September 30, 2023, and is one of the best fall festivals in the US.
America’s largest Oktoberfest in Cincinnati has been celebrating German heritage since 1976. More than 700,000 people attend this festival each year. Festival-goers enjoy live entertainment, parades, the “Running of the Weiners”, and more all while eating Bavarian specialties like sausages and sauerkraut, pickled pigs feet, soft pretzels, German potato salad, and strudel washed down with steins of German beer. The 48th annual Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is September 14-17, 2023.
The borough of Canonsburg, just southwest of Pittsburgh, hosts a fun-filled Oktoberfest event that blends German and American food, drink, and entertainment. The Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest features two stages with German entertainment and American pop music and a food court with German and American favorites. A craft fair, amusement rides, and plenty of beer round out the offerings. The 25th annual Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest is September 15-17, 2023.
Beginning in mid-August and stretching until mid-October, Snowbird Oktoberfest is a free event at Snowbird alpine resort that is fun for all ages. Utah’s original Oktoberfest event, Snowbird has different activities and contests each weekend, including yodeling, polka, and mug holding competitions. The biergarten features 50 types of beer from Germany and Utah and Bavarian treats like bratwurst, spaetzle, beef rouladen, pretzels, apple strudel, and Bavarian-roasted almonds. The 51st annual Snowbird Oktoberfest dates are TBD.
Vermont is known for its craft beer, ale trails, and beer festivals. And this, my friends, is a beer fest that you don’t want to miss. Held at the European-style Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, this is the only time you’ll attend an Oktoberfest owned by the famous family of singers. Trapp Family Oktoberfest is a one-day event held at the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall. Entry to the family-friendly event includes lager or root beer in a commemorative mug, plus an appetizer and entrée for guests 13 and older (guests 12 and under get a root beer in a commemorative mug and an appetizer like pretzels with beer cheese dip, bratwurst with house mustards, and potato pancake with horseradish applesauce). The 14th annual Trapp Family Oktoberfest event is September 16, 2023. Fall is also the best time to visit Vermont if you want to see New England’s fall foliage, so come for Oktoberfest, and stay for the autumn vibes.