"O'zapft is!" is the proclamation that jumpstarts Oktoberfest festivities across Germany, but the celebrations in America have found other unique ways of getting the party started. Bluegrass-playing monks, mass chicken dances, yodeling competitions -- these affairs might not have the pomp of the traditional German celebrations, but their take on the beer festivities have captured the spirit of the holiday and made it all their own. Follow our guide to the best Oktoberfests across America!
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati - Cincinnati, OH
Highlights- Plenty of contests that include the Running of the Weiner Dogs, a bratwurst-eating championship, and World's Largest Chicken Dance (with George Takei as head chicken-marshall). Along with being one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations, it's also worth noting that they have the largest collections of alpenhorns.
Lake Worth Oktoberfest - Lake Worth, FL
(Oct. 11-13, 18-20)
Highlights- Two weekends of carnival rides, Bavarian meatloaf on a roll, modern dance interpretations of old Bavarian and German dance, and a Bavarian BBQ pork sandwich to die for.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest - Leavenworth, WA
(October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19)
Highlights- Three whole weekends of festivities that include horse-drawn carriages, a traditional Bavarian procession, BBQ turkey legs, and Matthias the Friendly Carver, who will carve you a lederhosen-laden figurine bearing your likeness.
Alpine Village Oktoberfest - Torrance, CA
(Every Friday & Saturday between September 15 and October 27)
Highlights- Oom Pa Pa bands flown in from Germany, an enormous beer list, a yodeling competition, authentic biergartens, and all curated by Oktoberfest celebrity, HEiNO (imagine the blonde lovechild of Elvis and Liberace). Easily the largest Oktoberfest celebration in California.
La Crosse Oktoberfest - La Crosse, WI
(September 23 - October 1)
Highlights- The Miss Oktoberfest beauty pageant, the Maple Leaf Parade, Oom Pa Pa karaoke, a lederhosen luncheon, and rumor has it that Bret Michaels will putting on a special show on one of the evenings.
Oktoberfest on Larimer Square - Denver, CO
(September 16-18, 23-25)
Highlights- A keg-rolling contest, Human Foosball, the Sea of Accordians concert (more than 100 players involved), one-liter steins of beer (they come in liters?!), the Long Dog Derby Race, a stein-hoisting competition, and music by Deutchland's answer to AWB, Average German Band.
Big Bear Lake Oktobefest - Big Bear Lake, CA
(Weekends between September 14 and October 26)
Highlights- Hard-to-find German beers served, endless Bavarian dumplings, a Coors beer-drinking contest, log sawing competitions, and a game called 'Shoot 'n Yodel'- all this taking place in the mountains of San Bernadino, CA.
Tulsa Oktoberfest - Tulsa, OK
Highlights- One of the only places to find landjaeger (German-style beef jerky), Bavarian bands flown in for the festivities, Das Boot 5K running race, stein-carrying relay races, high quality culinary delights (Bon Apetit magazine-approved), and an impromptu setup of European goods shops and kiosks.
German Village Oktoberfest - Columbus, OH
Highlights- 32 bands, including one stage solely committed to glockenspiel music, a Brat Trot footrace, a German-style marketplace of artisanal goods and boutiques, a cheese expo, and an Elvis impersonator.
Hofbrau Oktoberfest - Las Vegas, NV
(September 14 - October 31)
Highlights- A stunning 45 day-long celebration in an exact replica of the Hofbrauhaus of Munich. The tapping of the keg by Siegfried and Roy, nightly music from an imported in-house band, stein-holding contests, and more sausage and pork shank than you could ever imagine.
Helen Oktoberfest - Helen, GA
(September 12th and October 27th)
Highlights- Polka dancing, German music, long tables of brats and beer, all within the space of a re-created alpine village.
Snowbird Oktoberfest - Snowbird, UT
(Weekends between August 17 and October 13)
Highlights- a high Alpine slide, a zipline, authentic Bavarian food, yodeling from real mountains, and 2,000 apples-worth of strudel.