Best Bets for Oktoberfest 2010

Oktoberfest VacationIt’s fall, so that means it’s time to party it up German-style with a host of Oktoberfest celebrations. Vacation has a bunch of Oktoberfest ideas for you to mull over, so you can enjoy this special time of year as much as possible. From bratwurst to Bavarian music to beer, there are many reasons to take an Oktoberfest vacation.

Denver, Colorado

When: September 17-19 & 24-26

If you can’t make it to Munich, this is your second-best option. Modeled after the original German celebration, Oktoberfest on Larimer Street features a 10K marathon, a dachshund race (the Long Dog Derby), and almost as many accordion players as beer.

Torrance, California

When: September 10 to October 23

100,000 or so beer aficionados head to the Alpine Village for Southern California’s biggest and oldest Oktoberfest. Locally-made brewski, Omm Pa Pa bands gone wild, and pretzel eating contests – what more could you ask for?

Big Bear Lake, California

When: September 18 to October 30

This SoCal town morphs into a German village in the fall, attracting folks from far and wide – folks who want to get their hands on imported Franziskaner, Weihenstephaner, and more. Competitive attendees are welcome to enter the beer-drinking and mug (stein) carrying contests. But be careful – it’s easier said than done!

Fredericksburg, Texas

When: first weekend in October

The focus is really on eating and drinking in this German settlement. While you’re here, make sure to check out the nearby Hill Country Wine Trail.

Cincinnati, Ohio

When: September 18-19

We’re not totally sure what chicken dances and kazoos have to do with Cincinnati’s German heritage (apparently they hail from the Fatherland?), but we don’t really care. With a head count of half a mil, the “Zinzinnati” Oktoberfest is America’s biggest and baddest. It’s also the birthplace of the largest chicken dance and kazoo band. Expect traditional German beer, food, and music, too.

Tempe, Arizona

When: October 1-3

If you’re traveling with little ones, this is probably your best Oktoberfest option. That’s because the festivities kick off with a parade led by more than 100 kids. There’s also a much-anticipated raffle every year – a trip for two to Germany is always the top prize!

San Diego, California

When: October 1-3

Just east of San Diego is the La Mesa Village Oktoberfest, which features a car-free downtown with three beer gardens, several hundred arts and crafts booths, lots of food, and 200,000 or so revelers.

Leavenworth, Washington

When: First three weekends of October

Eleven years in the making, the Leavenworth Oktoberfest is one of the country’s most impressive. If you enjoy listening to music as much as indulging in Bavarian food and beverage, this is the place to be!

Helen, Georgia

When: mid September through October

Dance to polka music on the banks of the Chattahoochee River at America’s longest-running Oktoberfest. Helen’s got every ingredient of a great German celebration, so don’t miss out!

Seattle, Washington

When: September 24-26

Pumpkin carving, comedy shows, beer gardens, a 5k, and a whole lot more are in store for attendees of the well-loved Fremont Oktoberfest.