As autumn leaves explode into vibrant hues, nature starts to resemble the yellow and red of the German flag. Heed this call to celebrate one of the world’s most famous fall festivals: Oktoberfest.
For the more than forty million American citizens who claim German lineage, joining in the celebration is a tribute to their bloodline and a taste for certain old-world libations. Yet even without such ancestry, participants can don some lederhosen or a dirndl and raise a stein to the occasion—welcoming the return of Oktober.
The origins of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is inherently German in name and history, as it originated in the Bavarian city of Munich—or München, if you want to be truly authentic—in the year 1810. The first celebration was not, in fact, an ode to foamy drinks but a citywide wedding reception for Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria and his new bride, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The festivities were so revered that the city held them again the following year, creating a tradition that continues to this day.
Modern Munich sees annual events running for more than two weeks from mid-September to early October. But even if you can’t board a flight to this host city, there are a whopping 150-plus North American locales that celebrate this beloved jamboree abounding with flavors, dances, and decorative themes handed down through ancestry. These are some of the finest American takes on Oktoberfest that are not to be missed.
Oktoberfests in America
Cincinnati, Ohio (September 14–17, 2023)
This industrial Rust Belt city hosts the United States’ largest Oktoberfest celebration. Hundreds of thousand……..