Each year, millions of people celebrate Oktoberfest, which runs September 20 - October 5 this year. Originating in Munich, lively Bavarian music and the smell of sauerkraut, beer and bratwursts fill the air during the “largest people’s fair in the world” held annually late September and early October.
Originally held as a commemoration of the Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage in 1810, the modern festival continues to celebrate the German heritage.
Can’t make it to Germany this year? Don’t worry. Several U.S. cities offer their own version of this festive German event. Be sure to plan your getaway now and reserve your seat at this year’s Oktoberfest!
Cincinnati, Ohio – During America’s largest, most authentic Oktoberfest, hundreds of thousands of people pack the streets of Cincinnati during “Zinzinnati” (their version of Oktoberfest). Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati USA is an outdoor festival held in downtown Zinzinnati, Ohio that showcases the rich German heritage of Southwestern Ohio, as well as tasty samples of German-style music, food and beer. First held in 1976, the event has grown to be North America's largest Oktoberfest with more than 500,000 people attending each year. Here, vendors line the streets promoting potato pancakes, sauerkraut, sausages and knockwursts.
Helen, Georgia – Dubbed Georgia’s Alpine village, this quaint town was formerly home to a logging industry. The city resurrected itself by becoming a replica of a Bavarian town - in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. Located on the Chattahoochee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains (northeast of Atlanta), Helen hosts a fantastic Oktoberfest September – November each year.
New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, Texas – Who knew you could find a bier garten (translation is “beer garden” or bar) in the middle of Texas hill country? This area represents the best of Texas combined with the best of Bavaria. Located in the very center of Texas (about an hour north of San Antonio and an hour west of Austin), this area’s Oktoberfest is one of the most celebrated events as the towns pay tribute to their German heritage. Enjoy German food, German beer, German music, artisans, souvenirs and much more. In addition to Oktoberfest, Wurstfest is a 10-day festival featuring every kind of German sausage imaginable.
EPCOT, Orlando, Florida – For a taste of Germany in Florida 365 days a year, there is no better place to visit than EPCOT’s Germany. Dine at The Biergarten Restaurant, an indoor German "courtyard" featuring a German Oktoberfest buffet. Pile German sausages, sauerbraten, and red cabbage on your plate and feast away! Near the restaurant, enjoy yodelers, dancers and other lederhosen-clad musicians perform. The German band, Oktoberfest Musikanten, plays in The Biergarten about once an hour.