Our Favorite Oktoberfest Destinations

Tyler Fallon | Oct 02, 2013 @ 08:53 AM

It’s not too late to go out and enjoy the world’s largest fair: die Wiesn. The festival, known to most of us as Oktoberfest, runs from September 21st to October 6th at Theresienwiese in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and has inspired events around the world - especially in the United States.

Here in Kansas City, we’re lucky enough to be able to celebrate for a full two months thanks to Boulevard brewing their Bob’s ’47 Oktoberfest through September and October – not to mention the array of fairs that happen around the metro during this time.

While we were discussing our favorite fall festivals in the office, we decided that Oktoberfest deserved to be addressed in a separate post. A personal favorite of mine is the Leavenworth Oktoberfest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains; the traditional Bavarian village atmosphere and the Keg Tapping Ceremony are hard to pass up when the opportunity arises. I asked a few of the Bavarian culture aficionados and beer snobs around the office about their favorite later-season Oktoberfest destinations. Here is what we came up with:

Beth: Hermann, MO

After vocal protests over not allowing Munich as a choice, Beth picked Hermann as the host of her favorite late-season Oktoberfest. With strong German heritage and a central Missouri Rhineland location, the festival celebrates Old-World heritage with beautiful fall colors, Oom-pah bands, brats, and beer along the backdrop of the Missouri River.

Garrett: Bear Mountain State Park, NY

“Let me just say, and you get this quote right: I love anything to do with beer, bears, and brats; so when I heard about the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest, I knew I had to go.” Garrett came for the polka bands, and stayed for the German food and local crafts. When asked if he would go back given the chance, he replied “Absolutely!” and nodded his head vigorously for longer than necessary.

Joe: Frakenmuth, MI

Lord Mayor Christian Ude of Germany officially sanctioned the Frankenmuth Octoberfest celebration, making it the only city outside of Munich to receive such an honor. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that it is Joe’s favorite. He particularly enjoyed the excitement of watching 100 dachshunds majestically race across the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion. Needless to say, he plans on return trips in the future.

Amanda: Big Bear Lake, CA

Since 1971, Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest has been the German festival in southern California. If you want an authentic experience, look no further: Big Bear Lake uses Bavarian bakers, butchers, and (of course) beer makers. I asked Amanda about her experience: “Well, there weren’t any turkey legs, but I had plenty of Spaten Dunkel and ate half a baked chicken. I can’t wait to go back.”

Sara: “I don’t know, I just want pumpkin beer"

Sara has been known to attend an Oktoberfest or two in eastern Missouri, and considers herself a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to both fine and not-so-fine beer. While the dark German brews are always nice this time of year, she will always choose what she describes as “pumpkin pie in a bottle” above anything else.

Edit: After the blog went live, Jodi informed me of a grave mistake in this post; I neglected to include Snowbird Oktoberfest, which (in her expert opinion) is Utah's best - growing from two men in leather lederhosen in 1973 to over 60,000 visitors each year. The festival includes Oktoberfest Halle featuring the tastes of Bavaria with entertainment from German bands and yodelers; all with a majestic mountain backdrop that is sure to remind your of the Old Country.

I tend to prefer my Oktoberfest visits to be later in the fall; the busy wedding season is winding down for me - meaning I actually have free weekends. After a couple months of procrastination I have found a storage unit to hold my summer seasonal equipment and furniture safely, so I’m relatively free of stress and responsibility around the house. These festivals across the country have grabbed our interest at StorageFront – what about you?

Image credit to Wikimedia, Ethan Prater, and Markburger83, respectively.