Best of America

9 Small-Town Oktoberfests That’ll Make You Believe You’re in Germany

Can't make it to Munich? These festive beer bashes in small towns from Maine to California serve up the Bavarian spirit.

Helen Oktoberfest, Helen, Georgia

oktoberfestCourtesy Helen OktoberfestWhen the official Oktoberfest began, its popularity spread throughout Germany. (By the way, the reason Oktoberfest is really celebrated has nothing to do with beer.) Now it's become almost as popular in the U.S. The Helen Oktoberfest is the longest running Oktoberfest in the U.S. This year's is held September 28 to October 29. Every year, the event is held at Helen Festhalle and features German-style bands from around the country and the world. Within the Festhalle, rows of long tables allow you to eat brats, drink beer, and enjoy the bands. The town of Helen itself will put you in the spirit, as it emulates a traditional Alpine village, including cobblestone streets and themed buildings. Check out these other fairytale-like towns around the world.  

White Mountain Oktoberfest, Lincoln, New Hampshire

oktoberfestCourtesy Loon Mountain ResortBefore the snow wipes away the fervor of fall and the stunning fall foliage, Loon Mountain, a renowned ski destination located in the White Mountain National Forest, celebrates Oktoberfest over October 7 and 8. There are seemingly limitless activities, including a keg toss, a stein hoisting contest, and pumpkin painting for kids. Check out our list of the 50 must-try craft beers—There's one from every state!  

Oktoberfest, Amana, Iowa

oktoberfestCourtesy Amana Colonies FestivalsOktoberfest in Amana, Iowa, which takes places September 29 to October 1, includes a parade, a keg tapping ceremony, and horse and carriage rides. The keg tapping ceremony sets the tone for the weekend, with the Burgermeister tapping the first keg at the Festhalle Barn, followed by free beer until the keg is empty. Contests like brat eating, keg tossing, and log sawing will keep you in the mood for constant celebration. Speaking of contests, you'll want to check out these competitive eating facts that will either amaze you or totally gross you out!

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Das Best Oktoberfest, National Harbor, Maryland

oktoberfestCourtesy Das Best OktoberfestThe Das Best Oktoberfest festival on the outskirts of our nation's capital goes all out on September 30. It's an all-you-can-taste event featuring more than 150 international, domestic, and local Maryland beers, wines, and schnapps. Enjoy bratwurst, knockwurst, potato pancakes, pretzels, and pickles while listening to authentic Oompah and polka bands. Into games? There's beer stein holding, a team costume competition, cornhole, a best beer belly competition, and a Miss Oktoberfest. Wear your German attire to get in the spirit and you'll be granted free swag. If all this costume talk has you thinking about your Halloween plans, check out these cheap costume ideas.  

Acadia's Invitational Oktoberfest, Southwest Harbor, Maine

oktoberfestCourtesy Cynthia CrowAcadia knows how to put on one festive event! Held at Smuggler's Den Campground in Southwest Harbor, Acadia's Invitational Oktoberfest hosts vendors, games, and activities galore. Check out the beer tent for unlimited sampling and join in on games like a keg toss, flip cup, cornhole, and even beer-less pong. Wine lovers, listen up! Come on Friday, October 8 for the 8th annual wine tasting event. And beer lovers, enjoy the annual brewfest the following day. Fall is a great time to go camping, so check out your best options around the country if you can't make it to Smuggler's.  

Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest, Big Bear Lake, California

oktoberfestCourtesy Dan McKernanThe annual Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest celebrates the lore of the world's original Oktoberfest in an inviting alpine setting. From the old-world ambiance to the authentic German food, beer, and entertainment options, you're sure to get in the spirit. There will also be three bands direct from Germany, as well as expanded outdoor entertainment. Be sure to feast on brats and knockwursts direct from the German butcher, too! If you can't make the trip, you can always borrow these butcher-approved tips to get the best cut of meat. The festival takes place weekends September 9 through October 28.  

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Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Angel, Oregon

oktoberfestCourtesy Mount Angel OktoberfestOne of Oregon's longest festivals, Mt. Angel Oktoberfest has become a staple for family-friendly fun in the state. The four-day festival, which has been held in Mt. Angel for more than 50 years, is a block party that brings more than 300,000 attendees each year. The year's festival is September 14 to 17, with highlights including traditional Bavarian food. This year's Oktoberfest features 50 food booths, a large arts and crafts show, street dances, a traditional Biergarten, family Weingarten, interactive Alpinegarten, and a world-class Bavarian band. Check out these unexpected uses for beer—besides drinking it.

International Oktoberfest, East Providence, Rhode Island

08-Courtesy-Newport-OktoberfestCourtesy Newport OktoberfestSince its inception, nearly three decades ago, International Oktoberfest has been all about the beer! The Biergartens feature dozens of seasonal, craft, domestic, and imported brews to wash down scrumptious German cuisine all while listening to the live entertainment. East Providence's Oktoberfest, held on October 7, serves as a celebratory farewell to summer and unofficial hello to a new season in one of the nicest places in America. While kids can join, this event is geared toward adults.

 Stowe Oktoberfest, Stowe, Vermont

09-courtesy-Stowe-RotaryCourtesy Stowe RotaryEvery year, Stowe—home to many winter resorts and impeccable mountains—transforms into a Bavarian village beneath a massive tent to celebrate Stowe Oktoberfest. This year, it's September 29 to October 1. Here's the story behind why Oktoberfest actually starts in September. Attendees get to indulge in traditional German fare, gulp down local Vermont brews, and dance it all off to Oompah bands. Stowe, known for its active environment and incredible scenery, especially the fall foliage this time of year, also hosts the Oktoberfest Bike Parade on Saturday, September 30, which kicks off with bike decorating and DJ music.

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 Cape Coral Oktoberfest, Cape Coral, Florida

Courtesy German American Social Club of Cape CoralThe Cape Coral Oktoberfest festival is said to be the largest part of the year in this beach community, so if you're in the area the weekends of October 20 to 22 or October 27 to 29, you surely don't want to miss out! You'll find three stages and two dance floors featuring nonstop live bands, two of them directly from Germany. For the foodies, enjoy an extensive menu of delicious homemade style German specialties like sausage platters, bratwurst, schweinshaxen, and leberkaese. There's also imported German beer, domestic beer, and German wine and spirits. Let the kids run rampant in the carnival area, and snag some gear from the handmade crafts section.

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