Oktoberfest is the time of year when we celebrate two of Germany’s most beloved gifts to the world: brats and beer. The celebration originated in early 19th century Munich, where today more than six million people from around the globe gather to guzzle down nearly two million gallons of beer every autumn. Can’t make it to Germany? Here are three places in the U.S. that host grand Oktoberfest celebrations you don’t want to miss!
Wisconsin boasts one of the highest populations of German Americans in the US, so it’s no surprise that Oktoberfest is always a big deal across the state. The biggest celebration, which dates back to 1961, is hosted in La Crosse. The fun kicks off with a grand parade featuring illuminated floats and decorated homes along the route. Don’t miss the highly anticipated Craft Beer Night, where you can sample over 130 unique beers from nearly 40 breweries.
Located about 40 miles south of Portland, Mt. Angel was settled by German pioneers in the 1800’s. The scenic town’s buildings and culture are reminiscent of Bavaria. Be sure to check out the 49-foot glockenspiel, located on the corner of Charles and Garfield streets, which, at four stories tall, is the largest glockenspiel in the United States. Given its German heritage, it’s no surprise that Mt. Angel’s Oktoberfest celebration, which started in 1966 as a harvest festival, is now the biggest festival in the Pacific Northwest. Each year, over 350,000 people head into town for four packed days of live music, dancing, arts and crafts, a traditional biergarten, and more than 50 food chalets offering every German treat imaginable-—from brats to strudels.
Plan on spending the night at the Oregon Garden Resort in nearby Silverton. The full-service resort overlooks the 80-acre Oregon Garden, and features a spa, an outdoor pool, and fresh, Northwest-inspired food and fine wine. Enjoy live music and happy hour specials each evening in the cozy Fireside Lounge.
First hosted in 1976, today over half a million people raise their beer steins to say cheers at Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, Cincinnati, the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States. It also hosts the largest chicken dance ever and the largest kazoo band on the planet. The fun centers in the historic Fountain Square district in downtown Cincinnati and features live music and dance as well as abundant amounts of beer and treats from Germany and all corners of the world.
Don’t miss the annual Running of the Wieners, the kick-off event with dachshunds racing in hot dog costumes. While you can stay at one of the many downtown hotels, give one of Cincinnati’s charming B&Bs a try.