A group of friends toast their steins at Schell's Oktoberfest

Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest in Minnesota

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A group of friends toast their steins at Schell's  / Paul Vincent

Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest in Minnesota

By Erica Wacker

Oktoberfest has grown far beyond its centuries-old origins in Munich, with multiple celebrations held right here in Minnesota. Here's where you can grab a stein, pull on some lederhosen, and say "Prost!" the German way throughout the state. 

Father and daughter at Oktoberfest

Get festive at New Ulm Oktoberfest

New Ulm

The biggest Oktoberfest in the state is in New Ulm, which was settled by German immigrants in 1854. Though this heritage is honored year-round at local businesses like the beloved restaurant Kaiserhoff, the celebration is at its peak during two weekends in October. (This year's is on Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14.)

Polka and other bands keep the atmosphere lively, and kegs of locally brewed Schell's beer are kept flowing every night. Other entertainment includes horse-drawn trolley rides, specialty shops and food vendors downtown, and tours and other activities at Morgan Creek Vineyard and Schell's Brewery, which holds its massive event on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don't leave town before visiting the 45-foot-tall musical glockenspiel or the Hermann the German monument.

Fair State Co-optoberfest

A couple raises their steins at Co-optoberfest / Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Minneapolis-St. Paul

The tented biergarten at Waldmann Brewery will be serving its traditional, German-style tipples — they specialize in the good stuff — on Sept. 22-24 and Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in St. Paul. Utepils is also known for brewing clean and crisp European-style beer all year round. Its sprawling beer garden is hosting live music, stein-holding contests, and food from Gerhard's Brats and Northeast Pretzel on Sept. 15-16 and Sept, 22-23.  

Custom Lakes & Legends steins can be purchased and filled for free in Loring Park on Sept. 30, as part of an all-day party that includes food from the KCM EggRolls food truck and a lively performance by Twin Cities Brass Band. Pushing things a little further on the flavor profile front is Fair State, which celebrates its annual Co-optoberfest on Sept. 30 from noon until midnight in Northeast Minneapolis. Aki's will also be on hand with fresh soft pretzels, or if you're looking for something a little more substantial, The Angry Line cook will be smashing burgers inside its popular food truck.  

Giesenbrau Bier Co Oktoberfest

Giesenbräu Bier Co

Further Afield 

In Deerwood, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge draws thousands of people to its annual event on Oct. 20-23. Sitting pretty over in New Prague is Giesenbrau Bier Co., a brewery with family ties to the small German town of Waxweiler. Its Oktoberfest takes place Oct. 6-7 and revolves around live polka music, Bavarian pretzels from Edelweiss Bakery, pork and dumplings from Prchal's, and tall 1-liter fills of Fiestbier.

Other standout fests throughout the state feature local makers, church-slung brat and kraut combos, and a 5K run (Thousand Lakes Brewing Co. in Prairie on Sept. 22-23); side-pulled pilsners and single origin wet hop IPAs (Portage Brewing Company in Walker on Sept. 23); solo accordion sets, flammkuchen, and a bean bag tournament (Goat Ridge Brewing Co. in New London on Sept. 23); and heated competitions involving stein holding, brat eating, and axe throwing (Bold North Cellars in Alexandria on Oct. 22). 

Erica Wacker

Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.