Oktoberfest started in Munich on October 12, 1810, as a five-day celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. During the following years, Oktoberfest became a celebration of Bavarian culture, music, and food.
This year, Oktoberfest in Munich starts tomorrow, September 19 and runs through October 4, with nearly round-the-clock eating, drinking, and music. If you can't get to Munich, Miami has a number of places where you can experience the culture, dress, and beer of Germany. Here are the ten best ways to celebrate Oktoberfest.
10. The Butcher Shop's Oktoberfest Celebrations
Wynwood's Butcher Shop celebrates the fall with the best of their wurst. From October 2 - 31, enjoy Bavarian food specials including homemade beer bratwurst on a pretzel stick ($9), wiener schnitzel with fries and a mon wedge ($15), German pretzel with bechamel cheese sauce ($7), and apple strudel and ice cream ($9). Come out the first weekend, and enjoy Goose Island's premieres of its Oktoberfest IPA and Autumn Ale.
9. Octoberfest at Marlins Park
The fourth annual Octoberfest hits Marlins Park on Sunday, October 4, from 3 to 9 p.m. with plenty of beer, music, German food, and carnival rides. Tickets start at $20 and go up to $52 for VIP, which includes early admission and access to special beers. For tickets, visit octoberfestmiami.com.
8. Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus
Starting Saturday, September 19, the Royal Bavarian Schnitzel Haus celebrates their Bavarian roots through October. Servers don lederhosen and dirndls and authentic German beers like Krombacher Pilsener, Bitburger Pilsener, Lederer Pilsener, Spaten Oktoberfest Märzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen, Franziskaner Hefeweizen light, Koestritzer Schwarbier dark, Tucher Kellerbier, Hacker Pschorr Hubertus Bock, and Salvator Double Bock are served, along with traditional Bavarian cuisine like beef goulash ($6), mixed sausage platters ($12), and potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream. Schnitzel Haus is open Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
7. Miami Beach Botanical Garden's Oktoberfest Miami Beach Botanical Garden gets in on the Oktoberfest action with its first-annual Oktoberfest on Friday, September 25, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., enjoy unlimited beer from five local breweries including Concrete Beach, Miami Brewing Company, Islamorada, Funky Buddha, and Biscayne Home Brew. You'll also chow down on a pig roast, enjoy music from the International Polka Band, and play games. Vote for your favorite dessert at the Oktoberfest pie competition. Tickets are $30 for members and $40 for nonmembers and can by purchased online at mbgarden.org.
6. Concrete Beach's Blocktoberfest Concrete Beach celebrates Blocktoberfest on Saturday, September 19, from 2 to 11 p.m. This all day celebration, which happens to also be opening day at the Munich mega-fest, includes the Brewery's official ribbon cutting ceremony, Oktoberfest-inspired games, and food. The brewery will also roll out their Floridafest Coconut Lager. The fun starts at 2 p.m. with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado cutting the ceremonial ribbon, then continues throughout the day and evening. Events include a pretzel eating contest at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., a pretzel toss at 4 and 7 p.m., stein hosting competitions at 5 and 8 p.m., a yodeling contest at 9 p.m., and a live band at 10 p.m. Blocktoberfest is free to attend. For more information, call 305-796-2727 or visit concretebeachbrewery.com.
5. New Times' Original Beerfest
The 18th annual New Times' Original Beerfest presented by Isle Casino, returns to Fort Lauderdale's Esplanade Park on Saturday, October 10. From 7 to 10 p.m., enjoy unlimited sampling of over 100 international, local, and craft beers. The event also features live musical performances, interactive games, and good food. This year also brings the introduction of the Miss Beerfest competition, where South Florida's female beer lovers have the chance to compete for the title of Miss Beerfest 2015. Entrants will compete in games of brew-related skill and daring like pouring the perfect head of beer and hoisting the boot! General admission tickets for New Times' Beerfest are $30 through October 9, $40 at the door. VIP tickets include one hour early admission to the event at 6 p.m., unlimited liquor and food samples and rare craft beers at the VIP lounge and are $75 through October 9, $80 at the door. Brewmaster tickets include early access to the event at 6 p.m. and a commemorative gift and cost $65 in advance. Visit newtimesbeerfest.com for details on the Miss Beerfest competition and to purchase tickets.
4. Sam Adams Octoberfest
The sixth-annual Sam Adams Octoberfest takes over Miami's beer capital, Wynwood, for a four-day party from October 1 through 4. Styled after the famed Munich festival, this Octoberfest offers live music and entertainment featuring the International Polka Band. Enter the Miss Octoberfest or raise the stein contests, and eat German favorites like bratwurst, pretzels, and strudel. Of course, there's lots of Sam Adams Octoberfest beer flowing. Admission is free, and an online offer gets you a souvenir half-liter stein, mug with beer, a pretzel necklace, and swag for $15. Sam Adams Octoberfest is located at Sam Adams Castle at Mana Wynwood. Hours are Thursday, October 1 from 6 p.m. to midnight, Friday, October 2, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, October 3, from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday, October 4, from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, visit thisisoctoberfest.com.
This annual celebration of craft beer returns to Coconut Grove's Peacock Park on Saturday, October 17, from 3 to 7 p.m. Over 300 beers are offered for sampling, including rare brews. In addition, most local breweries are represented. Grovetoberfest also features cooking demos by South Florida's leading chefs, live music, and food vendors. Grovetoberfest also holds an annual home brew contest, where dozens of hopefuls submit their best efforts to be judged by a panel of professionals. Tickets range from $40-90, with many purchase levels offering early entry. Visit grovetoberfest.com for details.
2. Coral Gables Oktoberfest at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
The 21st annual Coral Gables Oktoberfest arrives at Fritz & Franz' Bierhaus Plaza on October 1 and lasts until October 11. Each day sees different live musical acts, events, and parties, but no matter what day you go, you'll be treated to a true German celebration with plenty of brats and beer. The party is held Sunday through Saturday from noon to midnight and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. Admission is free.
1. German American Social Club's 58th Annual Oktoberfest
If you're looking for a true Oktoberfest experience, celebrate with the German American Social Club. For two glorious weekends in October, celebrate German culture, dance, food, music, and, of course, beer. This Oktoberfest has been around since 1958, making it possibly older than your parents. It's also the largest German cultural event in South Florida. The 58th annual Oktoberfest runs October 16 through 18 and October 23 through 25 from at the German American Social Club, located at 11919 SW 56th St., Miami. One-day admission is $10 for adults 21 and over, $5 for kids 6 - 20, and free for kids 6 and under. Admission for the entire run of the Oktoberfest is is $30 for adults over 21, $15 for kids 6 - 20, and free for kids under 6. Hours are Fridays from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to midnight.
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.