The original Oktoberfest in 1810 was essentially a wedding reception that has persisted for more than 200 years. Like Saint Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo, the festival is now observed in hundreds of cities worldwide, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Miami.
The marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen brought festivities such as horseracing, parades, and eventually beer — the main attraction of the modern-day Oktoberfest. Märzen beer is traditionally served at the two-week festival, which runs September 21 through October 6 in Munich this year.
Approximately 6.3 million people visited Germany for Oktoberfest in 2018, according to Thirsty Swagman, a travel agency for German beer festivals, which is a little more than the population of the Miami metro area. However, instead of traveling overseas, South Floridians can celebrate Oktoberfest right here. The region offers dozens of festivals this year to bring the party home. Check the dates and times carefully, because individual Oktoberfest dates vary throughout the next couple of months.
Beachside Bar & Eatery Oktoberfest. During this two-day festival, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park will be transformed into a quaint German village with biergartens, a tented dining area, and festive decor. A German-American menu will include bratwurst, pretzels, grilled chicken sandwiches, and other bites. The first day will feature regional brewers, and day two will highlight Broward-only brewers. 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 12, and Sunday, October 13, at 1399 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-563-2900; parkandocean.com. Tickets cost $10 to $15.
German American Club of Hollywood. Three Saturdays of Oktoberfest at the German American Club of Hollywood will include a Miss Oktoberfest pageant, performances by the Bavarian folk dancers the Auerhahn Schuhplattlers, music by Bob Houston, beer, food, and gemütlichkeit (the German term for a state of warm friendliness and cheer). 4 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, September 28; Saturday, October 12; and Saturday, October 26, at 6401 Washington St., Hollywood; 954-322-6227; germanamericanclubhollywood.org. Tickets cost $10.
Hollywood Brewing Company. Weekdays in September, get a free pint of beer when you order a German sausage platter. 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday to Friday through September 30 at 290 N. Broadwalk, Hollywood; 305-414-4757; hollywood.beer.
Jamtoberfest. At the FTL Art Walk in MASS District, celebrate Oktoberfest with unlimited beer samples, live music, and delicious German fare. 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at 899 NE Fifth Ter., Fort Lauderdale; jamtoberfest.com. Tickets cost $25 and include unlimited beer samples and a souvenir beer mug on a lanyard.
Oakland Park Oktoberfest. In Jaco Pastorius Park, Funky Buddha Brewery's 15th-annual Oktoberfest will offer three days of attractions, including a dachshund dash, a doggie fashion show, dancing, food and drinks, a biergarten, and games such as stein races, beer barrel races, and an apple-strudel-eating contest. 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, October 4; 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday, October 5; and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday, October 6, at 4000 N. Dixie Hwy., Oakland Park; 954-630-4200; oaklandparkfl.gov. Tickets cost $5 per person; kids 12 and under get in free.
SAGE Oktoberfest. Wilton Manors' SAGE of South Florida will celebrate Oktoberfest at the German-American restaurant Ambry. 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, October 17, at 3016 E. Commercial Blvd., Wilton Manors; 954-771 7342; ambryrestaurant.net.
American German Club of the Palm Beaches' Oktoberfest. Two weekends of everything Oktoberfest will happen at the American German Club in Lake Worth. Expect authentic German cooking, domestic and imported beer, carnival rides, the Munich band Heldensteiner, an appearance by Miss Oktoberfest 2019 Toni Sinn and her court, and other diversions. 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, October 11; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, October 12; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, October 13; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, October 18; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, October 19; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, October 20, at 5111 Lantana Rd., Lake Worth; 561-967-6464; americangermanclub.org.
Barrel and Brewtoberfest. Beer, German food, local vendors, and live music will follow a 3K run (barely two miles). 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, October 5, at Grandview Public Market, 1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $45 via eventbrite.com.
Due South Brewing Co. The brewery's eighth-annual event will offer three days of German food, polka music, and beer releases. Commemorative steins are available for $11 and include the first fill. Noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, September 26; noon to 11 p.m. Friday, September 27; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at 2900 High Ridge Rd., Suite 3, Boynton Beach; 561-463-2337; duesouthbrewing.com. Admission is free.
Royal Palm Brewing Company. The brewery will celebrate with German food, music, Märzen beer, and commemorative steins. 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, September 21, at 543 N. State Rd. 7, Suite 103, Royal Palm Beach; 561-792-5822; royalpalmbrewing.com.
West Palm Beach Oktoberfest Brewery & Distillery Crawl. This second-annual beer crawl will include five stops and a mix of breweries and distilleries. All locations are within walking distance of one another. The folks at SFLHops, the organizer of this crawl, highly recommend proper Oktoberfest attire. 1:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 19, beginning at Ookapow Brewing Company, 1142 Old Okeechobee Rd., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $6 to $20 via sflhops.com.
Abbey Brewing Company. This is the Abbey Brewing Company's 24th-annual Oktoberfest party. On tap will be craft and traditional German beer and food, Jägermeister shot specials, and a pig roast. 1 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday, September 29, at 1115 16th St., Miami Beach; 305-538-8110; abbeybrewinginc.com.
Batch Gastropub. Batch will serve beermosas (a beer mimosa) and micheladas for its bottomless brunch to commemorate the beginning of Oktoberfest. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, September 22, at 30 SW 12th St., Miami; 305-808-5555; batchgastropub.com.
Brickell Oktoberfest Bar Crawl. Brickell's second-annual Oktoberfest Bar Crawl begins at Blackbird Ordinary and progresses to several other venues (to be announced) offering beer, food, music, and Oktoberfest swag. 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, October 5, at 729 SW First Ave., Miami; 786-389-1092; blackbirdordinary.com. Tickets cost $20 and $15 each for groups of four or more.
The Butcher Shop. Nearly two weeks of Oktoberfest events will include German food and drink specials daily, plus a DJ on the weekends and contests such as beer-chugging and a stein hoist. 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday, October 1, through Sunday, October 13, at 165 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-846-9120; butchershopbeergarden.com. Admission is free.
Concrete Beach Brewery Blocktoberfest. Concrete Beach's fifth-annual Blocktoberfest will be held in the brewery's Social Hall. Expect all Miami breweries, including Wynwood Brewing, Veza Sur, Beat Culture, Biscayne Brewing, and MIA Beer Company. Noon to midnight Saturday, September 21, at 325 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-796-2727; concretebeachbrewery.com. Admission is free.
Decktoberfest at the Wynwood Marketplace. Expect seasonal beers, live music, beer games, and a Rock the Stein competition with a $100 bar tab as a grand prize. There will also be food and $2 fireball shots. Ladies drink free beer all night. 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, September 12; Thursday, September 19; and Thursday, September 26, at 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; wynwood-marketplace.com. Admission is free with RSVP via eventbrite.com.
Fritz & Franz Bierhaus. For the past 25 years, Fritz & Franz in the Gables has hosted this well-organized Oktoberfest that keeps the party going for ten days. In Bierhaus Plaza, find authentic German food, live bands, and Märzen draft beer all day. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday, October 3, through Saturday, October 12, at 60 Merrick Way, Coral Gables; 305-774-1883; bierhaus.cc. Admission is free.
German American Social Club of Greater Miami. At the club's 62nd consecutive Oktoberfest, celebrate with German food and beer, folk dancing, and live music. There will be bounce houses, magicians, and large open spaces for kids. 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, October 11; 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday, October 12, and Saturday, October 19; and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday, October 13, and Sunday, October 20, at 11919 SW 56th St., Miami; 305-552-5123; gascmiami.org. Tickets cost $10 to $30.
German International Parent Association. This annual Oktoberfest event brings together all of the organization's schools to celebrate German language and culture. The party features food, drinks, and musical performances from students. It's also a fundraiser, and 100 percent of the proceeds support the school's German-language curricula. Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 7, at 5790 Sunset Dr., Suite 137, South Miami; gipa.org. Food and drink tickets cost $1 each and are available via gipa.org.
Grovetoberfest. One of Miami's largest annual beer-tasting festivals, offering more than 500 craft beers, returns to Coconut Grove. 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, October 12, at Regatta Park, 3500 Pan American Dr., Coconut Grove; 305-461-2700; grovetoberfest.com. Tickets cost $44 to $84.
Oktoberfest at the Rooftop. At Bloom Skybar inside the Eurostars Langford in downtown Miami, a re-creation of Bavaria's traditional fall festival offers bratwurst, live music, cocktails, and $3 La Rubia blonde ales from Wynwood Brewing every Friday through October 5. 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, September 6; Friday, September 13; Friday, September 20; Friday, September 27; and Friday, October 5, at 121 SE First St., Miami; 305-420-2200; bloomskybarmiami.com. Tickets cost $8 to $10 via eventbrite.com and include two drinks, drink specials, and Oktoberfest swag while supplies last.
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North Beach Oktoberfest. At the North Beach Bandshell, enjoy live music by Germany's Vroni, Austria's the Pech and Schwefel Band, and other acts. Traditional Bavarian food will be available. 2 to 11 p.m. Saturday, September 28, and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday, September 29, at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-453-2897; oktoberfestinmiami.com. Admission is free.
Tripping Animals Brewing Co. Oktoberfest in Doral will happen at Tripping Animals, hosting an entire weekend celebration. The brewery will release two beers: a Hefeweizen and a Märzen. Along with beer, there will be special-edition merchandise, traditional German fare provided by Offsite Miami and Gorilla City Sandwiches, and German-style music. A brewers' competition will happen Sunday. Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 28, and Sunday, September 29, at 2685 NW 105th Ave., Miami; 305-646-1339; trippinganimals.com. Tickets cost $20.
Wharftoberfest at the Wharf Miami. The Wharf Miami's second-annual Oktoberfest along the Miami River will offer live music, drink specials, and German-inspired dishes courtesy of food trucks such as OG Ceviche & Seafood and Lung Yai Thai Tapas. Noon to 3 a.m. Saturday, October 5, and noon to midnight Sunday, October 6, at 114 SW North River Dr., Miami; 305-906-4000; wharfmiami.com. Admission is free.
Wynwood Oktoberfest Bar Crawl. Now in its second year, this Oktoberfest event encompasses multiple venues. The crawl begins at Shots Miami and continues to nearly a dozen other places, including El Patio, the Butcher Shop, J. Wakefield Brewery, and Veza Sur Brewing. 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, September 28, at 311 NW 23rd St., 305-571-0439; shotsbar.com. Tickets cost $10 to $20.
Wynwood Brewing Company. This Oktoberfest celebration at Wynwood Brewing will include Bavarian-inspired food, games, beer, and a "hold the stein" contest. Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at 565 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-982-8732; wynwoodbrewing.com. Admission is free.
Wynwood's Octoberfest. The tenth consecutive Sam Adams Octoberfest will include a grand photo booth and beer hall, pumpkin-themed everything, live music, food, "Brewlympics" beer games, and, of course, lots of beer. Bonus: The fest is dog-friendly. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, September 27; 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday, September 28; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, September 29, at 2250 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-461-2700. Tickets cost $12 to $30 via wynwoodsoctoberfest.com.