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With the flip of a calendar page, September arrived. And with the change of months comes a change of seasons and a flurry of fall festivals, including the ever-popular Oktoberfest.
Though you may think of German beer, pretzels and lederhosen, the festival began more than 200 years ago with a wedding. Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen celebrated their nuptials in 1810 with a five-day festival. It was such a success that the lovebirds made it an annual event in Bavaria.
The Munich Oktoberfest—and many others around the world—actually begins in September, but the 16-day celebration ends in October. So, why not Septemberfest? Though the original festival did begin in October 1810, the event’s duration was extended over the years—from five to 16 days—and its start date was moved up to begin in September, when it’s still warm in the evenings.
Looking forward to Oktoberfest this year? Great minds think alike. In fact, one of the greatest, Albert Einstein, was known to have enjoyed a stein or two. Around the turn of the century, Einstein actually worked at Oktoberfest, where he helped install electricity to the Schottenhamel Banqueting Tent, one of the oldest at the annual event.
If you can’t make it to Bavaria, you can still grab a stein stateside and celebrate this year, or even plan a vacation around it next year. Prost!
For nearly half a century, the capital of Colorado has celebrated Oktoberfest with German music, dances, food and beer. Savor a strudel, see how long you can hoist a full beer stein or buy your own souvenir stein, which comes with two beer tickets and a pass to skip the lines. As if the autumn mountain air wasn’t enough of a draw, the event is free to enter too.
Where to stay: Valdoro Mountain Lodge in nearby Breckenridge, Colorado.
Taking place over four weekends, this free, family-friendly event at Watermark (Pier 15) in Manhattan will serve up quite the view with its bocks and weissens. Enjoy food, fun and games—like foosball and pingpong—backdropped by views of Brooklyn’s skyline and the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges.
Where to Stay: The Residences by Hilton Club.
Imagine 100 adorable dachshunds racing in hot dog costumes. Pretty darn darling, right? See it at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which kicks off with this cuteness, also known as the “Running of the Wieners.” One of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S., the event includes German food, beer, live music and dancing, including the self-proclaimed “world’s largest chicken dance.”
Where to stay: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.
Celebrate this German festival with traditional German food, beer, live entertainment and dancing at San Francisco’s Pier 48. Soak in a view of the Bay while sipping on a cold one or dancing to the impressive 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band headlining the event.
Where to stay: Club Donatello in the heart of Union Square.
*The photo featured at the top of this article is by filmfoto / Getty Images.
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