"Oktoberfest" started in Munich in 1810 at a royal Bavarian wedding attended by only a handful of guests. Soon word spread and towns across Munich, Bavaria and Germany organized annual festivals for locals to ring in the fall season, particularly the harvest. While Oktoberfest is traditionally a 16- to 18-day festival hosted across Europe, smaller versions are also widely enjoyed across America from late September to early October.
International Oktoberfest, Newport, Rhode Island
The International Oktoberfest runs from October 9 to 12 in Newport, Rhode Island. The annual event celebrates German food, music and culture. Live Bavarian music, yodelers and toe-tapping dance troupes provide daily entertainment. Visitors can choose from a variety of foods, including knackwurst, barbeque and traditional Austro-German cuisine. Beer selections are imported from locations such as Sierra Nevada, Harpoon and Narragansett. A touring grill and tailgate party known as the "Johnsonville Big Taste Grill" is another exciting part of the festivities. Parking lots are located within walking distance of the Newport Yachting Center. One-day and three-day passes are available online and at the gate and range from $12 to $40 as of October 2010.
4 Commercial Wharf
Newport, Rhode Island 02840-3007
Minster Oktoberfest, Minster, Ohio
Oktoberfest draws over 80,000 people to Minster, Ohio, where visitors enjoy the community's rich German heritage. Main events include a parade with celebrity guests as well as daily activities in the community's Gazebo and Spazz Plaz. Adult visitors can sign up for beer tray relay races, a 10K run and other activities. German music, dancing and traditional German foods make this three-day event a family-friendly day. Oktoberfest runs the first week of October. For pricing information, contact organizers at:
5 West Fourth St.
Minster, OH 45865
Big Bear Oktoberfest, Big Bear Lake, California
Oktoberfest arrives at Big Bear for seven consecutive weekends starting on September 18 and closing on October 30. Visitors can listen to German bands from the San Bernardino Mountains area or head to Big Bear Lake for polka shows, log sawing and Alphorn blowing contests.
Big Bear Oktoberfest
Convention Center at Big Bear Lake
Big Bear Lake, CA