Top-Rated Oktoberfeste in the USA
It is hardly surprising that a country like the USA with huge numbers of German immigrants — in fact, German-Americans make up the largest ancestry group in the US — should offer such a large number of Oktoberfest celebrations. Here’s a list of the main ones:
1. MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest, mid Sept, Covington, Kentucky
This has won awards and attracts 125,000 visitors from throughout the Midwest, offering a mix of German and international foods, music, and arts and crafts. Held in a designated historic district with shops, restaurants, pubs, and entertainment.
2. Alpine Village Oktoberfest, weekends – early Sept to late Oct, Torrance, California in the LOS ANGELES area
Having been called “one of the best Oktoberfests in the world!”, this is one of the oldest and largest Oktoberfest celebrations in California. It has been a popular for 45 years attracting 100,000 visitors a year. Bavarian entertainment includes Oom Pah bands from Germany, sing-a-longs, a yodeling competition, and contests like pretzel-eating and beer stein-holding, plus an abundance of German food and beer. Sundays concentrate on family entertainment. In the same location, there is a German supermarket with butcher and bakery, a cafe, and a German restaurant, along with small shops selling things imported from Germany.
3. Oktoberfest, mid Sept to late Oct, Helen, Georgia
One of the biggest local events for 40 years, this Oktoberfest transforms tranquil Helen into the ultimate party town featuring German bands and polka performances with dancers in native costume, and traditional Bavarian food and beer.
4. Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas, mid Sept to late Oct, Las Vegas, Nevada
Taking place in an exact replica of Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus complete with beer hall and beer garden, this is as authentic as it gets stateside, complete with live music, appropriate foods such as sausages and pork shanks, and an abundance of German beer brewed according to original recipes handed down by the Duke of Bavaria over 400 years ago and imported directly from Germany.
5. Oktoberfest, every weekend in Oct, Hermann, Missouri
During the first 4 weekends in Oct, this town cenebrates Missouri’s best festival. This well preserved German village on the banks of the Missouri River provides a perfect setting for traditional events to celebrate German-Bavarian heritage and culture. A wide variety of activities take place among the more than 150 historic buildings that include antique shops, specialty stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants, B&Bs, and inns. There are 7 wineries and plenty of music, special food booths, and crafts demonstrations.
6. Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, mid Sept to late Oct, Big Bear Lake, California
This has been a popular attraction for 42 years and features everything to do with German food and beer from bratwurst, knockwurst, and dumplings to premium German beers, beer drinking contests and stein-carrying challenges, concerts, game booths, log-sawing, and activities for children such dance performances, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, airbrush tattoos, and carnival games.
7. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, mid to late Sept, Cincinnati, Ohio
Recognized as North America’s largest Oktoberfest for more than 3 decades, this has been an increasingly popular attraction with more than 500,000 visitors each year. Highlights include live entertainment, big bands, folk dancers, accordion players, almost 100 booths offering German food, beer and wine, and a large selection of rides and activities for children.
8. Denver Oktoberfest, mid to late Sept, Denver, Colorado
Recognized as one of the largest in the USA, this is also one of Denver’s most popular and longest running festivals. Towards the end of Sept over 2 separate weekends, the city comes alive with all things festive and German, incl. music, dance, cultural performances, German food including the ever popular bratwurst and strudel desserts, and German beer.
9. Oktoberfest, mid Sept, Mt Angel, Oregon
One of the oldest and best loved community activities, this 4-day largest folk festival in the state attracts more than 300,000 people a year to Mount Angel, a community founded by German pioneers in 1867. Featuring music, food, dress, and beverages of Bavaria, it celebrates culture and has been a successful attraction for almost 50 years.
10. Addison Oktoberfest, mid Sept, Addison, Texas
One of the most authentic Oktoberfeste outside of Munich, the 4-day event attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year to enjoy the German food like schnitzel as well as beer favorites, a yodeling contest, folk music, polka dancing, sing-alongs, the unique German Spelling Bee, children’s entertainment, and more.
11. Oktoberfest, late Sept – early Oct, La Crosse, Wisconsin
One of Wisconsin’s largest autumn festivals for more than 50 years, attracting 150,000 people annually, this is an Old-World folk celebration steeped in German tradition. Held along the shores of the Mississippi River, this fall festival transports visitors to Bavaria with music, entertainment, arts and crafts, ethnic food, carnival rides, Maple Leaf and Torchlight parades, the Festmaster Ball, and the Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest pageant.
12. Harpoon Oktoberfest, late Sept, Boston Brewery – Boston, Massachusetts
One of the most popular New England fall events for more than 20 years, complete with beer, bratwursts, chicken dancing, a keg bowling game, and German chocolate cake-eating contests, this event offers everything from lederhosen-dressed musicians and their traditional waltzes to free non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers.
13. Leavenworth Oktoberfest, early to mid Oct weekends, Leavenworth, Washington
A 3-weekend festival held annually in this charming town modeled after a Bavarian village, the event attracts over 10,000 people and features 4 venues with concerts of live traditional music, typical food like bratwurst, cold beer, imported German brews , and the mayor honoring the Bavarian tradition of “tapping the keg”, European shops, wooden carvings, and a marathon.
14. Oktoberfest, early Oct, Stowe, Vermont
In the Stowe Events field under a huge tent transformed into a Bavarian village, Oktoberfest in Vermont celebrates the harvest and fall season with everything from “oompah” bands to traditional sing-a-longs and dancing, to Bavarian foods and freshly brewed Vermont beers. Other top attractions are a silent auction, the Grand Parade with marching bands, floats and more to open the event, and a wide variety of fun activities for children.
15. International Oktoberfest, early Oct, Newport, Rhode Island
This is an ardent tribute to Germany’s most famous fall festival and offers 3 stages of German music, Oktoberfest show bands, dance troupes and yodelers, as well as a Kindergarten with family fun activities. Visitors can enjoy the best of German and domestic Oktoberfest brews in the International Biergarten, and the best of foods with a traditional Bratwurst.
16. New Ulm Oktoberfest, early Oct, New Ulm, Minnesota
Set in New Ulm originally founded by German immigrants, the Oktoberfest there is now recognized as one of the best of the smaller ones in the USA. A popular event for over 30 years, it presents 2 stages of music and entertainment, the ever popular German-American Parade, entertainment at several bars and taverns, craft shows and a famous and popular glockenspiel with characters emerging every few hours.
17. Oktoberfest, mid Oct, Historic German Town – Nashville, Tennessee
Attracting thousands of people for more than 32 years, the family oriented event features everything from 4 stages presenting live German music, food and beverages, Polka dancing, arts and crafts, antiques, street performers and fun events for children.
18. Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, mid Oct, Phoenix, Arizona
Offering an unusual blend of Bavarian and Southwest USA cultures, the much loved event for the whole family at Tempe Town Lake offers polka, bratwurst, strudel and beer with salsas and Southwest foods, along with 4 stages of live music, 6 beer gardens offering also wines and spirits, a college garage band competition, John Madden football tournament, lots of video games, and arts & crafts for the kids.
19. Tulsa Oktoberfest, mid Oct, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Named 1 of the top German food festivals in the USA by Bon Appetit magazine and saluted by USA Today as one of the Top 10 places in the world to celebrate Oktoberfest, this is one of the largest German celebrations in the USA. There are beer pong competitions, wiener dog races, polka sessions, a beer keg race, foods such as bratwurst with sauerkraut or smoked turkey legs, a German marketplace, and chances to sample authentic beer, to enjoy dance troupe performances, and carnival rides.