Prost! to Oktoberfest
By Sydni Ellis
Picture this: you get married, and your wedding is so amazing that people still celebrate it more than 200 hundred years later all over the world! That’s what happened to the Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese, who were married in October 1810 in Munich. The locals loved the festivities so much that they brought it back year after year. Now, this event is known as Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world!
This German tradition, held for two weeks each year around the end of September to the beginning of October, is filled with German beer, food, beer, yodeling, beer, dancing, beer, strength contests, beer and more beer (what can we say? They really like beer in Germany!). But don’t worry, you don’t have to hop on a plane to enjoy this incredible party there are plenty of fun Oktoberfest celebrations to attend right here in Texas.
For an authentic German experience, attend Fredericksburg Oktoberfest Oct. 4-6 a celebration that recently received recognition by USA Today for being one of the top 10 Okotoberfests in the country! Fredericksburg has German roots: it was founded by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach in 1846 as a place for German settlers to live. Now, the city attracts approximately 22,000 visitors to its annual Oktoberfest celebration held downtown at the MarktPlatz.
There are many things to say “oom-pah!” about here. Enjoy bratwurst and potato pancakes, washed down with Texas or German beer; listen to polka music at OkTUBAfest and catch other live entertainment acts across four stages; participate in a stein-hoisting competition; wear your best lederhosen
(German short breeches with suspenders) or dirndl (a traditional dress) for the costume contest; participate in the Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance and shop inside the tents offering art, homemade goods and collectables. Admission to this event is $8 per person 13 and up, and $1 per kid ages 7-12 (6 and under are free) daily. Weekend passes are also available. The event will take place from 6 p.m.-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Another city that is proud of its German heritage is Muenster, which was founded in 1889. Don German garb and come out for Oktoberfest Oct. 5-6 from 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Kick-off the festivities by running in The Wurst Race 5k or half marathon, over a trail that passes by a lake and the historic downtown. Not feeling very athletic? Those looking for more of a good time can do the 0.5k beer run instead, where participants will try to complete two laps without spilling their beer!
Later, watch the annual keg tapping, cheer on your favorite pup at the Weiner dog race, listen to traditional music and drink all the beer your heart desires! Tickets are just $5 per person, ages 9 and older, and everyone else is free.
Shopping enthusiasts can join 100,000 of their closest friends in attending Southlake Oktoberfest, taking place Oct. 4-6 this year. One of the most exciting parts about Southlake’s festival is the shopping! Oktoberfest takes place inside the beautiful Town Square, which is surrounded by luxe retail options like Williams-Sonoma, lululemon and Banana Republic. In addition to the brick-and-mortar shops, you can also find boutique booths selling gorgeous jewelry, clothing, art, candles, soaps, home décor and other one-of-a-kind goodies. Seriously, if shopping is your thing (guilty!), then you don’t want to miss this!
Not looking to spend too much money? Instead, take a stroll through the Town Square to watch The Molly Ringwalds, an 80s tribute band on Saturday night; play with your kids in the Family Fun Zone; get a henna tattoo or your face painted; test your strength at the stein-hoisting competition and watch the adorable Weiner dog race. As always, admission and parking are completely free to the festival, which will be open from 4-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday.
Visiting the Dallas Arboretum in the fall is breathtaking more than 90,000 pumpkins are on display, alongside gorgeous autumn flowers but Oktoberfest Weekend at the Arboretum will be an entirely new experience. Mostly because this is the first time the garden has ever hosted Oktoberfest before! Come by from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5-6 for complimentary beer samples, a pretzel toss, a stein-hoisting competition, live music and the special Oktoberfest menu, which includes black forest cake, warm apple strudel and carved pastrami sandwiches. Attendance to the festival is free with paid admission (which is $17 for adults 13-64, with discounts for kids and seniors.)
A beer garden, keg bowling and a doggy fashion show are just some of the things you can expect at the free Plano’s Steinfest from 5-11 p.m. Oct. 25 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 26. Steinfest is an Oktoberfest-style event featuring polka music (complete with accordions!), plenty of festival games including cornhole and giant beer pong, and a charming canine fashion show where pups of all breeds wear adorable costumes and strut their stuff down the runway for prizes.
Hungry for more? Be sure to check out the Bratwursts eating contest, where you will have to eat as many savory, delicious brats as you can in five minutes to win a $100 cash prize! Other contests include the annual Masskrugstemmen (strong man) competition, where people see who can hold a stein out at a 90-degree angle longer than anyone else, and the annual kid’s yodeling contest, where little ones will get to show off their loud, beautiful voices. While you’re there, be sure to check out the petting zoo, the artist village and the beer garden.
Finally, add a little sun, sand and sea to the festivities and you’ll get Galveston’s Island Oktoberfest! This beachy twist to the classic event offers a new way to have fun. Go shopping inside the historic 1860 Lyceum, spin the cake wheel to win a delicious treat, hang out in the Bier Garten for German brews and wines, and dine on the fancy Wurstabendessen, a sausage dinner with traditional German Wurst and sides. Of course, there will also be plenty of men and women in themed costumes, live folk music and yodeling, and several dance troupes to entertain you. This free event is open from 5-10 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday.
To make the most out of your Oktoberfest celebration, there are just a few last things you need to know: invite a friend or two (the more the merrier!), dress seasonably since October often does not equal cool weather in Texas and arrange for a ride afterward, as there will be plenty of adult beverages to enjoy. Oh yeah, when you hear people shouting “Prost!” raise a glass and join them: it’s a German word for “cheers,” and shouting it basically shows everyone around you how great a time you’re having!