Oktoberfest in Germany is the biggest beer-related festival in the world. One of these days I’ll make it out to Deutschland, but for now, I have to settle for one of the satellite festivals here in the USA. I did some research this morning and as it turns out, there are a few choice locations in this country that do their absolute best to match the madness that takes place in Germany. So if you want to celebrate the harvest, one of my favorite beer varieties in existence, and best of all, get really really wasted in a sea of drunks, Hot St. Pauli Girls, and pretzels, check out one of the locations below for the best Oktoberfest, this side of the Atlantic.
Leavenworth exists as a German themed town all-year round. Kinda strange for an American city and i’m not sure why, but I’m guessing it’s in year round preparation for one of the most epic Oktoberfests in the country. Leavenworth seems a little more focused on German culture than Beer. The festival features 3 weekends worth of authentic German music, authentic German food, even a dude who will carve a wooden figure of you wearing leder-hosen. None the less, there is also enough beer for 50,000 people and only 30,000 people attend, so grab a stein, and make Far-West Germany your bitch.
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Ever see a 6-pack that holds 688,000 gallons of Beer? No? Come to La Crosse Wisconsin. The City Brewery, established in 1969, has cleverly taken 6 gigantic beer tanks at their factory, and painted them to look like the front of a giant 6-pack. They do hold beer and could provide one regular sized 6-pack per day for 3,351 years. Okay, enough of the cheesy stuff. La Crosse started hosting Oktoberfest in 1961 and they attract 175,000 people annually. There’s a lot of parades (kinda lame) but there is also a Miss La Crosse Oktoberfest Pageant, featuring the hottest girls around in traditional German regalia. Who doesn’t love a girl dressed like a Beer Wench? Only 2 1/2 hours from University of Wisconsin, so start your engines, Badgers. Just don’t plan on driving home.
Colorado is quickly becoming one of our favorite states in the country. Boulder might be the biggest Pothead city in the country, but Denver is host to my 3rd favorite Oktoberfest between the oceans. Their festival is modeled to correspond with the German celebrations in Munich. Once the first keg is tapped, the festival is underway, including refillable one-liter steins and contests like Human Foosball (Soccer?), Pretzel Toss and something called a Keg Roll. German culture is a big part of it, but this one seems like just a shit-load of good old drunken fun, so if you go to any one of the awesome schools in Colorado, pack a bowl and make the trip.
Not sure why Ohio is so obsessed with Germany, but it’s two Oktoberfests (Columbus and Cincinnati) create an epicenter of Oktoberfest in America. Columbus doesn’t just close off the streets for it’s Oktoberfest. That just wouldn’t be epic enough. Instead they create a 200-acre replica of an authentic German City, just for party purposes. Call this the Electric Daisy of Oktoberfest, with 30 different bands performing on 3 stages for the entire weekend. Add all the Bratwurst and Pretzels you can eat, and all the Beer you can drink, and this is an Oktoberfest and Festival in the truest sense. That is, if you can’t make it to Cincinnati…
The Reds may not have won a Pennant since 1990, and Bengals have never won a Super Bowl, but Cincinnati apparently makes up for sucking at American culture by excelling at German. Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, which it’s called, is officially the nation’s largest Oktoberfest, hosting 500,000 people every year. The event features the world’s largest Chicken Dance and Kazoo band but we won’t hold that against them. With 500,000 people drinking enough German beer for an army (hopefully not a German one), how could you possibly not have fun? They don’t have the Columbus music scene or odd German village, but when it comes to parties, bigger is usually better. If all else fails, there’s always beer.