Oktoberfest in America

Oktoberfest is a tradition that was started in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of King Ludwig of Munich, Germany where citizens took to the fields in front of the city gates to rejoice in this occasion. Oktoberfest has taken on a whole new meaning in America– a fall festival dedicated to lederhosen-wearing children and adults, domestic craft beers, along with pretzels and bratwurst galore.

Many cities across the country participate in holding their own version of Oktoberfest that gives a hometown feel to those who want a taste of their region, yet with a Bavarian twist. Let’s check out how some cities make Oktoberfest tailored to their own area!

Bend, Oregon

The Bend Oktoberfest is one of the more unique festivals around. They hold traditional German events such as the stein hold competition (a group of beer-drinkers hold their mugs up for as long as possible) and traditional German music is played by live artists. Something that makes them stand out from the rest is their wiener dog race which could have something to do with the classic bratwurst that is served!

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Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, otherwise known as Zinzinnati for this celebration, holds the largest Oktoberfest in America and is held its 41st this year. They hold bratwurst eating competitions and this year’s winner reported there were 70 bratwursts downed in 10 minutes—it doesn’t get more American than eating competitions! Zinzinnati Oktoberfest also holds a partnership package with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team for tickets to a game and the festival during your stay. Some baseball and German craft beers, for those of age, always make for a good time!

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Stowe, Vermont

You will be transported into a Bavarian Village when you walk into the tents of Stowe’s Oktoberfest in the Northeast corner of the country. This ‘fest has Vermont brewed beers on tap and hosts traditional sing-alongs and dances in the middle of the tent’s floor. Not only can you enjoy a bit of German tradition but the ‘fest supports many local charities and scholarships with the entry fee. You can sing and drink (those of age J) to the good that you are providing the community!

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You can see that no matter where in the country you are, each city takes its own spin on what parts of traditional Oktoberfest they want to keep alive while incorporating their own rituals to the fun! Partnerships and advertisers use these events as a time to get themselves out into the community in a friendly atmosphere such as the Cincinnati Reds and the craft beer companies in Oregon partnering with the festivals to get their products and names to consumers. Be sure to research where the closest Oktoberfest near you will be next year to continue the nearly 200-year-old tradition!

-June Crawford