Your Guide to Oktoberfest 2011
I’ve learned my lesson. Oktoberfest is celebrated at the end of September. Got it. So, now that it is about a month away from Oktoberfest, I figured it was time to start to plan the best way to celebrate beer and drinking by drinking beer.
Get thee to Munich! THE Oktoberfest takes place between September 17th and October 3rd, but start planning now. According to the FAQs, on weekends, the beer tents close before 11 a.m. due to overfilling. So, if you want to surround yourself with a bunch of people looking to get drunk before noon (and since we all love tailgating during football season, I think we all know that is a yes) start making your reservations to drink. Then use the weekdays to ride the rides before heading to beer tents at a more reasonable afternoon hour.
If you hear “tent” and think, I’m not one for camping, then you don’t know the Oktoberfest tents. There are tents noted for friendliness, tents with their own bakeries and tents known for fried sausages grilled over an open beech wood fire.
Then the large Oktoberfest celebration in LaCrosse, WI that runs from September 23rd to October 1st might be for you. It’s only a 270-mile drive from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport or a 150-mile drive from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport if you don’t want to spend the extra money to fly directly there. There are parades on the first Friday and Saturday of the fest and Wednesday night is Craft Beer Night, if you want to switch up your beer consumption.
Then the Zinzinnati Oktoberfest (hey, Cincinnati was the town where Ochocinco started, so don’t be surprised with bad names) would be for you and its World’s Largest Chicken Dance. To counteract your shame after acting like a chicken with 48,000 other people, become a manly man by winning the beer barrel rolling contest. Then treat yourself to a beer. You’ve earned it.
Like Jason Simontacchi, John Mabry, Mike Matheny, Chris Duncan and Ricky Horton, then the Soulard Oktoberfest would be for you. (Yes, as a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I remember all of these guys well, but I wouldn’t expect even a rabid fan of other teams to remember maybe one of them.) The Soulard festival is from October 7th to the 9th and has performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Polka Floyd. Yes, that is what you think it is, a Pink Floyd Tribute polka band.
Then make your way to Denver on either the weekend of the 16th to the 18th or the 23rd to the 25th of September. The elk rut is generally around the middle of September and the aspen leaves start turning around the same time. Head up to Rocky Mountain National Park during the day and then cozy up to a few tall beers at night and you have a prescription for a pretty good weekend.
Then the Oktoberfest by the Bay in San Francisco, held across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park on September 30th to the 2nd of October would be for you. Only three miles away is Fisherman’s Wharf if you’ve been celebrating Oktoberfest with sausages all month and can’t look another bratwurst in the eye.
So, those are just a few of the options (this site has even more if you want one in your neck of the woods) to celebrate Oktoberfest. See you in the beer tents.
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."