Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Canada and U.S.

Grab a stein and celebrate Oktoberfest at these spots outside of Germany


 

Beer fans are always talking about the newest and best craft brews, so it’s easy to forget about the good old-fashioned German stuff. But once a year, from late September to early October, beer enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Munich for Oktoberfest, where they feast on traditional brews and foods like roast hendl (chicken), roast pork, ham hock, pretzels and wurst (sausage).

Oktoberfest originally started in 1810 as a celebration of the union between Bavarian King Ludwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia. The celebration stuck and has since evolved into the 16-day festival that draws locals as well as tourists from around the globe.

For those of us who don’t have the time or the funds to travel all the way to Germany, cheer up. Here in North America, there are a number of smaller Oktoberfest celebrations that offer plenty of fun.

So, put on your lederhosen or dirndl, pick up a stein, and say “Prost!” to making some new friends.

Kitchener-Waterloo

Oct 11-19

Just because you can’t be at the real thing doesn’t mean you’re missing out. The Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in Ontario is the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany. The nine-day festival is spread out over 16 venues, or festhallens, and hosts over 40 events including the symbolic keg-tapping, a pancake breakfast, barrel racing, a 5K run and a Thanksgiving Day parade.

North Shore Bavarian Society Oktoberfest

September 27 & 28

In the small town of Tatamagouche, N.S., the North Shore Bavarian Society puts on Canada’s largest Oktoberfest celebration east of Ontario, attracting over 3,000 attendees. Like the real deal, the event includes beer, dancing and traditional German fare like sausages and schnitzel.

Calgary Oktoberfest

September 27 & 28

It may not be the Stampede, but Oktoberfest in Calgary is pretty spectacular. The BMO Centre is filled with party-goers in traditional Bavarian clothing looking for tasty local craft brews and doing the chicken dance. If you haven’t already, start practising: “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit…

Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas

Until October 31

keg tap In a city with Eiffel Tower and Sphinx replicas, there are big expectations for an event like Oktoberfest. And Vegas does not disappoint. From live bands to stein holding contests, this exact replica of Munich’s Hofbräuhaus offers as close to the real experience as you can get. The restaurant serves classic Hofbräu brews as well as seasonal varieties. After the feast, head into the shop to pick up a glass stein, pointed hat or other signature paraphernalia.

Bierhaus NYC

Until October 31

It might not be a tent, but with long communal tables, skylights and servers in dirndl, Bierhaus will have you thinking you’re at “die Wiesn” (the local name for the Oktoberfest fairgounds). Every night, from Tuesday to Saturday, live bands play polka music while diners enjoy pork shanks, sausages and pretzels with Hofbräu brews on tap. If you’re there on October 26, don’t miss the Bratwurst Eating Championship.

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