Oktoberfest officially kicks off in Munich on Saturday (9/19). If you have no plans to travel to Germany, but still want to enjoy German music, dancing, foods and games as a family, here are 10 kid-friendly Oktoberfest celebrations across the U.S. that are worth a visit:
1. Oktoberfest at the River. In Spokane, WA, it’s a must to head to Oktoberfest at the River, which runs September 25-27. Look for a special area just for kids featuring games like Hammerschlagen (a hammer striking game) and Corn Hole Toss, as well as singing, dancing, wiener dog races and “root bier” for sale.
2. Oktoberfest Tampa. Head to Curtis Nixon Park in Tampa, FL the weekend of October 9-11 for Oktoberfest Tampa. There will be plenty of German food, including bratwurst and warm pretzels. Kids will also love to watch, even participate in, fun competitions like the Chicken Dance and Tauziehen (tug-o-war).
3. Triangle Oktoberfest. The Triangle Oktoberfest ranks among the most family-friendly in North Carolina. Head to the Kinderplatz Kids Zone October 3-4 for dancing, music, an obstacle course, even an inflatable slide. You’ll also want to see the yodeling contest, egg races and the best dressed dog contest.
4. Oktoberfest (Helen, GA). Oktoberfest in Helen, GA comes about as close as you can get to celebrating in Munich. Running September 17-November 1, families will love the German music, foods and dancing in Helen, which looks like a traditional Alpine village. If you can, go on Sundays when admission is free.
5. Oktoberfest USA. In La Crosse, WI, the place to be is Oktoberfest USA, which runs October 1-4. The annual festival is jam-packed with activities, including two parades, a medallion hunt, a soap box derby and a corn hole tournament. In between, look for marching bands, dance troupes, even an 80s cover band.
6. Snowbird Oktoberfest. In Utah, the annual Snowbird Oktoberfest expects to attract more than 60,000 visitors throughout the festival, which takes place weekends through October 11. Look for authentic Bavarian food, like schnitzel and bratwurst, as well as tram rides and plenty of German oom-pah bands.
7. Alpine Village Oktoberfest. Head to the Alpine Village Oktoberfest in Torrance, CA on Sundays through October 25 for Family Fun Days. Kids will love having their faces painted, doing the chicken dance and playing carnival-style games. There will be plenty of oom-pah music too, even bands from Germany.
8. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. Dubbed “America’s Oktoberfest,” Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Ohio is the place to be for the Running of the Weiners (weiner dogs) and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. Taking place September 18-20, kids can meet Fritz, Oktoberfest’s Top Dog and listen to plenty of German music.
9. Addison Oktoberfest. In Addison, TX, head to the Addison Oktoberfest September 17-20 for children’s folk dancing, a carnival, even a dachshund parade (and races too). There’s even a German Spelling Bee and a Run for the Children 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run, as well as a Family Fun Zone.
10. Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Plan a stop by Leavenworth Oktoberfest in Washington on the first three weekends in October (10/2-3, 9-10, 16-17). Go for traditional oom-pah bands on four different stages, as well as Kinderplatz, an area just for kids complete with crafts, dancing and L-Bow the Clown.