Oktoberfest officially kicks off in Munich on Saturday (9/20), but if you have no plans to travel to Germany, but still want to take in German music, dancing, foods and games, here are 10 family-friendly Oktoberfest celebrations across the U.S. that are worth a visit:
1. Oktoberfest Chicago. Hosted by St. Alphonsus Church, head to Oktoberfest Chicago for bratwurst, traditional German music and Kinderfest, a celebration just for kids. Kinderfest will feature face painting, crafts, German food and a storytime. Oktoberfest Chicago takes place September 26-28.
2. Columbus Oktoberfest. In Ohio, Columbus Oktoberfest will include plenty of German foods (schnitzel, brats, pierogies), as well as a four-mile “Brat Trot” and a Breaking of the Pretzel kick-off ceremony. Kids will also love the dachshund races. Admission is free and events run September 26-28.
3. Oktoberfest Orange County. It’s a must to celebrate Oktoberfest at Old World Huntington Beach in Orange County, CA. Running through November 2, go for the wiener dog races on Sundays. Kids will also love the carnival games, live German music and the Oktoberfest Parade (September 28).
4. Oktoberfest (Helen, GA). Oktoberfest in Helen, GA comes about as close as you can get to celebrating in Munich. Running September 18-November 2, 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. Newberry Oktoberfest. Enjoy the annual Newberry Oktoberfest in Newberry, SC on October 4. Go for live music, including a polka band, a German outfit contest (break out your lederhosen!) and a farmers market. Kids will love Kindertown, which will feature a craft area, train rides and kids yoga.
6. Seymour Oktoberfest. In Seymour, IN, you and your kids will enjoy a wide variety of activities at the Seymour Oktoberfest, which takes place October 2-4. Go for the parade on October 4, as well as a brat eating contest, a 5K fun run and plenty of crafts and carnival rides for little ones.
7. Angel Fire Oktoberfest. Kicking off this weekend (September 19-21), the Angel Fire Oktoberfest in New Mexico promises traditional Oktoberfest games and competitions, as well as arts and crafts, a kids zone, a 5K fun run and scenic chairlift rides. Also, look for a special Oktoberfest Menu at the resort.
8. Oktoberfest Monroe. Just outside Seattle, head to Oktoberfest Monroe September 19-21 for plenty of German music and dancing on the Festhalle stage. Families will also love the Family Fest Zone (look out for the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden) and Kinderhaus for face painting and scavenger hunts.
9. Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Plan a stop at Leavenworth Oktoberfest in Washington on the first three weekends in October (10/3-4, 10-11, 17-18). 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.
10. St. Charles Oktoberfest. Just outside St. Louis, make a stop at St. Charles Oktoberfest for lots of German bands and performing troupes, as well as an antique car show. In the Kids Zone, look for pumpkin painting, games, bounce houses and face painting (for a $5 donation to KEEN St. Louis).
Photo Credit: Yaniv Yaakubovich