Find German Food & Fun at These Minnesota Oktoberfest Celebrations

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Grab a stein and say Prost! to New Ulm Oktoberfest

Find German Food & Fun at These Minnesota Oktoberfest Celebrations

By Erica Wacker

Much like you don't have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you don't have to be German to take part in Oktoberfest.

This 200-year-old Bavarian tradition has grown far beyond its origins in Munich, with multiple celebrations held right here in Minnesota. So grab a stein, pull on some lederhosen and say "Prost!" the German way.

New Ulm Oktoberfest

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. 7-8 and Oct. 14-15.)

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 main event on Saturday, Oct. 15 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.

Giesenbrau Bier Co Oktoberfest

Giesenbräu Bier Co

Metro Area Oktoberfests

The tented biergarten at Waldmann Brewery will be serving its traditional, German-style tipples — they specialize in the good stuff — on the weekends of Sept. 23 and Sept. 30 in St. Paul. Custom Lakes & Legends steins can be purchased and filled for free in Loring Park on Sept. 24, as part of an all-day party that includes a new German bock release (Bawk Bock) and food from the Gentleman Forager.

Pushing things a little further on the flavor profile front is Fair State, which will be celebrating its annual Co-optoberfest on Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. until midnight in Northeast Minneapolis. Half birthday party — the member-driven Co-op turns 8 this year —  half Oktoberfest, it stars four exclusive drink releases, including a birthday cake-flavored hard seltzer and a hoppy wheat lager brewed in collaboration with the Austin-based Live Oak Brewing. 

Venturing further afield from the Twin Cities to New Prague is Giesenbrau Bier Co., a brewery with family ties to the small German town of Waxweiler. Its Oktoberfest takes place Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, and revolves around live music, Bavarian pretzels from Edelweiss Bakery, and tall 1-liter fills of Fiestbier. 

Bold North Cellars Oktoberfest

Bold North Cellars

Greater Minnesota Oktoberfests

In Deerwood, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge draws thousands of people to its annual event in late October. 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. 23); side-pulled pilsners and single origin wet hop IPAs (Portage Brewing Company in Walker on Sept. 24); solo accordion sets, flammkuchen, and a bean bag tournament (Goat Ridge Brewing Co. in New London on Sept. 24); 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.