Oktoberfest has been a German tradition for over 200 years, and has become a fall staple covering the months of September and October. The festival, which began in Munich in 1810, currently holds the distinction of being the largest in the world. Mass quantities of beer, wiener schnitzel, and soft pretzels with mustard are enjoyed in a jolly celebration of life.
But why should Germany have all the fun? Cities all over the world have similar festivals modeled after the event, including the US. The following cities are described by BusinessWeek as being among the top Oktoberfest locations in the states.
Cincinnati, Ohio holds the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the country with more than half a million in attendance each year. Major events here include “The Running of the Wieners” in which Dachsunds race in hot dog costumes, a keg tapping ceremony, and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.
Those celebrating in San Francisco will get the privilege of nonstop music, singing, and dancing, with the 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band headlining the stage and playing “sizzling oompah music” according to the fair’s website. Not sure if this music has any relation to tiny orange Wonka creatures, or Snooki.
Oktoberfest in St. Louis is held right in the backyard of Anheuser-Busch, and boasts having 2,000 kegs and 14 bands. Numerous contests take place as well, from brat-eating challenges to strongest barmaid. Attendees can opt for the VIP treatment and get access to all-you-can-eat bratwurst!
Countless cities around America host some form of the event, so try doing some research to find one near you (and check out this handy list here). But if your city doesn’t have its own Oktoberfest celebration – or if it happened already, which is possible since many take place in September – that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the fun. I’d recommend grabbing a few friends and hitting up a few of the local bars, maybe stopping for soft pretzels on the way at your nearest food truck. It might not be the authentic German experience, but hey, if you’re with you’re friends, what does it matter?