Raise a glass at one of these international bierfests.
Any good beer lover knows about Oktoberfest. The multi-week festival is held each year in Munich, Germany, and celebrates beer, food, and general gemütlichkeit, or good cheer. Millions of people make the pilgrimage to visit the fest every year, strapping on their lederhosen and dirndls to raise a glass in celebration.
While Munich Oktoberfest is certainly worth checking out one day, getting to Germany can be a big swing for some. Fortunately, other Germany-loving cities around the world have taken inspiration from Munich and launched their own Oktoberfests. These smaller fests might not be as full of pretzels and pilsners as the original, but they’re a great alternative for anyone who’s got an empty beer stein and a passion for polka. Here are some international Oktoberfests worth checking out if you can’t make it to Munich this year.
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When: September 23-October 15, 2022
Drawing over 700,000 visitors annually, Kitchener-Waterloo’s Oktoberfest holds the distinction of being one of Canada’s largest cultural festivals. The multi-day festival takes place 90 minutes outside of Toronto in Kitchener, a town so rich in German heritage and population that it was previously called Berlin. A wide swath of the population of Kitchener and Waterloo actually still speaks German, so the fest might just be one of the closest counterparts to Munich’s outside of Germany. Like its European counterpart, the fest isn’t just about drinking, either: There are family-friendly events, concerts, and even a parade on Canadian Thanksgiving.
Villa General Belgrano, Argentina
When: September 30-October 10, 2022
Though it’s not specifically called Oktoberfest, Argentina’s National Beer Festival has all the hallmarks of the German celebration. Held in Cordoba’s Villa General Belgrano, which was founded in 1930 and is modeled after a traditional Alpine village, the fest was first launched by some of the town’s German immigrant residents in 1960. Each year, the fest attracts thousands of visitors over its two weekends, many of whom are clad in traditional German dress and come to pay homage to the event’s Oktoberfest queen.
When: September 16-18, 23-25, 2022
Denver is a city that loves its beer. The mile-high region hosts the Great American Beer Fest each October, but for those looking for an event with a little more German flair, there’s Denver Oktoberfest, held over two weekends in September. Held since 1969, the fest has the distinction of being one of Colorado’s largest tributes to beer, drawing about 350,000 people each year. Grab a beer and check out some keg bowling, or perhaps the annual Long Dog Derby, in which the region’s cutest dachshunds compete in a test of speed.
When: October 5-16, 2022
Turns out Munich isn’t the only Oktoberfest in Europe! Barcelona’s celebration takes place in the city’s Plaza Universo each year for about two weeks and is free to attend. Pop into the event’s big central tent, where you’ll find more than a few bars to patronize, as well as Bavarian foods like sausage, pork knuckle, and spätzle. Polka bands and DJs are set to play throughout the event, and there’s even a “best traditional Bavarian” costume contest for attendees.
When: October 5-23, 2022
Latin America’s biggest Oktoberfest, Blumenau’s event draws almost as many people as the fest in Munich. Held over 19 days in October, the fest has been rolling since 1984, when officials and business owners in the Alpine-themed town of Blumenau, Brazil got together to create an event to both promote tourism and celebrate German culture. Today, the fest advertises all sorts of wonders to visitors, including more than 150 different Bavarian food favorites, from goulash to strudel.
When: September 30-October 2, 2022
Held in Texas’s picturesque Hill Country, Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest is a celebration of crafts, food, and more than 50 beers from all around the world. Fredericksburg bills itself as the “Polka Capital of Texas,” and the fest’s oompah-heavy lineup supports that moniker. There’s even an “OkTUBAfest” planned, in which anyone who plays a tuba or sousaphone is invited to come and jam out, as well as a much-ballyhooed yodeling contest.
When: September 16-18, 2022
Cincinnati, Ohio, has had a rich German history, with many immigrants ending up in the city after the Prussian Revolution of 1848. It makes sense that the city’s Oktoberfest would be one of the country’s biggest, with over 700,000 people attending each year. The fest boasts not only one of the country’s biggest wiener dog races—the Running of the Wieners, in which 100 dachshunds compete—but also some of the hungriest crowds. The fest estimates that each year, 3600 pounds of sauerkraut are consumed, as well as 20,000 cream puffs, 16,000 strudel, and even 702 pounds of Limburger cheese.
When: October 7-9, 14-16, 2022
The only authentic Oktoberfest in Australia, Brisbane’s annual festival takes place over two weekends in October. Held at the Brisbane Showgrounds, the festival boasts multiple biergartens, a German trivia contest, an auto show, a Miss Oktoberfest contest, and even a strongman competition, in which teams of two or more must complete tasks like krapfen (jelly donut) eating, endurance-based stein holding, and keg rolling. Festivities begin at midday and go well into the night, so go hungry and well-rested.
When: October 20-23, 2022
Now in its 43rd year, Tulsa Oktoberfest is six days of German-themed fun. There’s keg-rolling and dachshund dashes, free family days, and plenty of delicious Bavarian food. The fest also boasts a robust selection of over 300 beer taps spread out over 140,000 square feet of festival grounds. Grab a bratwurst and take a turn around the maypole.
When: September 29-October 1, 2022
Billed as the longest-running Oktoberfest in the Midwest, LaCrosse, Wisconsin’s has quite a bit of small-town charm. The whole thing kicks off with a senior citizen breakfast at the fest’s Hofbrau Haus before launching into craft beer celebrations, torchlight parades, and even a special Festmaster’s Ball. If you’re into beer, you’re in luck, too, because the fest’s suds roster is surprisingly robust for an event of its size.
When: October 6-9, 2022
Nashville’s known as a bit of a party town, and that’s especially true when it comes to the city’s Oktoberfest. A tradition in the city’s Germantown neighborhood since 1980, Nashville Oktoberfest boasts local vendors, lots of beer, and plenty of delicious-sounding food. If you’re feeling athletic, there’s a stein-holding or Masskrugstemmen contest, as well as a 5k “bier run,” which ends with all runners 21-and-up getting a nice cold beer at the finish line.
New Braunfels, Texas
When: November 4-13, 2022
“Sprechen sie fun?” That’s the question New Braunfels, Texas’ Wurst Fest asks guests who come to celebrate every fall. Held in November, rather than the traditional September or October, Wurst Fest was created by New Braunfels’ meat inspector in 1961, reportedly in an effort to honor the very idea of sausage. It’s come a long way from its humble beginnings: These days, Wurst Fest takes place on its very own festival grounds, with five live music stages, a massive beer hall, and even a miniature golf course.