Munich’s Oktoberfest is the stuff of legend, with nearly 6 million people heading to the Bavarian city each year to join the revelry, enjoy the carnival rides and eat and drink tasty fare and sudsy steins. But you don’t have to fly to Germany to enjoy the fun.
The Bay Area alone hosts more than two dozen Oktoberfest gatherings, and there are epic festivals held from coast to coast. Viator, the tickets, tours and attractions wing of Tripadvisor, recently ranked seven of the biggest festivals in the U.S., complete with oompah bands, lederhosen and plenty of sudsy sipping options.
The list includes Fredericksburg, the self-styled “Polka Capital of Texas,” where the Oktoberfest celebration includes five stages of oompah and polka music. In Ohio, Cincinnati’s Zinzinnati fest serves up tens of thousands of Bavarian pretzels and brats plus a dachshund race each year. And in Stowe, Vermont, the party is hosted by Von Trapp Brewing and Trapp Family Lodge, run by the family immortalized in “The Sound of Music.”
The only West Coast entry on the list is a charming one — the Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, a little slice of Bavaria tucked amid the Cascades, about two and a half hours east of Seattle. Think half-timbered buildings, snowy peaks, a Nutcracker Museum and all the Alpine delights you can imagine, from winter sleigh rides and German restaurants to, of course, Oktoberfest. Leavenworth’s celebration runs Sept. 29-30, Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 and includes beer gardens, German food, live music and a 10,000-square-foot Kinderplatz, complete with root beer garden and a Ferris wheel.
Here’s the Viator list. Find the details, including photos, schedules and, of course, travel tips at www.viator.com.
7 of the Biggest Oktoberfest Festivals in the U.S.
1 Leavenworth, Washington
2 Denver, Colorado
3 La Crosse, Wisconsin
4 Fredericksburg, Texas
5 Cincinnati, Ohio
6 Helen, Georgia
7 Stowe, Vermont