Oktoberfest Celebrations in Chicago come right on the heels of the end of summer festival season giving the city almost two months of beer, brats, Wiener Schnitzel and oompah bands. Chicago has a kegload of Oktoberfests on tap for 2013 so get out your Dirndl or Lederhose and see what’s brewing. No Dirndl dress, no Lederhose, no worries, you can rent or buy them at Chicago Costumes or just come as you are.
Even though Chicago is many steins from Munich, Germany, the original site for Oktoberfest, we still know how to throw a party. No need to be German to join the fun just lift your stein and shout Prost! (cheers) and no one will be the wiser. Oktoberfest in Chicago kicks off on September 5 with “O’zapft” the traditional “tapping of the keg” at Berghoff Restaurant and just keeps rolling along with celebrations through October 31. Here’s a roundup of the best and wurst of the fests in no particular order.
The traditional tapping of the keg party at Chicago’s Berghoff Restaurant (17 W. Adams) kicks off the string of Chicago area celebrations from 6 to 10 p.m. on September 5. The actual tapping ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wear an Oktoberfest costume on tapping night for a chance to win Berghoff’s “Germaniac” costume contest. The party continues throughout September with giveaways, commemorative steins, brat, beer and bourbon tastings and more. Celebrate at the restaurant on September 15 (all day) and 16 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.) with $1.15 “Throwback Steins.”
2. The 28th Annual Berghoff Oktoberfest
The Berghoff Oktoberfest is the largest and longest-running Oktoberfest in Chicago. This year’s festival on John C. Kluczynski Federal Plaza at the corner of Adams & Dearborn will take place September 11th through the 13th, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The fest features daily lunch-time specials, traditional German performances by Johnny Wagner Band and others. The free admission festival cooks up traditional German faire (and beer, of course).
3. Oktoberfest Chicago
Three days of beer, brats, pretzels plus two stages of music are sure to put you in the spirit at Oktoberfest Chicago from September 27th to the 29th at St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church at Southport and Lincoln Ave.
The fest offers all the usual Oktoberfest favs with homemade bratwurst and beer in a traditional beer garden setting, along with oom-pah music and more. $5. Check out their new Craft Beer Night on Friday featuring 20 tastings from craft breweries around the country for $30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 7 pm..
4. Hofbrauhaus Authentic Oktoberfest
It’s the real thing. If you can’t go to Munich head to Hofbrauhaus Chicago, the first and only authentic German micro-brewery, beer hall, restaurant and beer garden in the Chicago area. It is one of only four authentic Hofbrauhaus locations in the United States, creating a near replica of the 400-year-old original location in Munich, Germany. The 48-day celebration, from September 13th through Halloween (October 31) even out-Muniches Munich whose Oktoberfest runs a mere 16 days from September 21 through October 6.
Festivities at Hofbrauhaus Chicago include authentic Bavarian entertainment, celebrity keg tapping ceremonies and freshly brewed “Oktoberfestbier” inspired by the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich, plus a German-inspired menu replete with delicious traditional Bavarian specialties served by Dirndl-clad waitresses and nightly live entertainment including a German Bugle corp., authentic “Oompah” band from Austria, and traditional German dancers MB Financial Park at Rosemont. 5501 Park Place, a new looping street situated west of River Road between Bryn Mawr and Balmoral Avenues. Convenient parking is available or take the CTA Blue Line to the Rosemont station.
5. Glenview House Oktoberfest Under the Tent
Glenview House will host an all-day Oktoberfest on Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that they say is the best this side of Munich. Guests can feast on authentic grub, grog and live German music by the Die Musikmeisters. The fun takes place in a 60’x40’ tent located in the railroad parking lot directly west of the restaurant. 1843 Glenview Road, Glenview, 847-724-0692.
6. Oak Park Oaktoberfest
Tap into the good times in downtown Oak Park at their annual “Oak” as in “Oak” Park Oaktoberfest on September 20 and 21. They’re promising a premier music line up, delicious fall foods from local restaurants, specialty craft beers, and even a Root Beer Garden for the kids. Marion Street and North Boulevard, South of Lake Street. Oak Park. 708-383-4145
7. Oktoberfest Brew Cruise
Shoreline Sightseeing will again partner with Paulina Market to host their second annual Beer, Brats and Boats Oktoberfest Cruise on September 27. The cruise will depart from Shoreline’s Gateway Park dock at Navy Pier at 7 p.m. and will return at 9 p.m. Tickets are $49, and include dinner and a drink in a souvenir Oktoberfest mug. Passengers must be 21 or older. A cash bar will be available. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call 312-222-9328 or visit their website.
8. Itasca Oktoberfest.
Das Bier will be flowing at Itasca’s authentic Oktoberfest celebration kicking off with the “Tapping of the first keg with Mayor Pruyn” at 5 p.m. Friday, September 6. The party keeps brewing with traditional German fare including Roast pig with red cabbage, spaetzle and more plus a kids menu with hotdogs and burgers. There’s more of the same on Saturday, September 7 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Downtown Itasca along Orchard Street.
Two Pub Crawls, each featuring three German import beers, German food and live music are scheduled for September 26th and October 3 starting at 6:30 p.m. The Crawl starts at The Berghoff and continues to Chicago Brauhaus, and Prost! Guests will be transported on a private trolley. Cost: $36-$46 (early ends 9/11). For more information click here.
10. Berwyn’s Oktoberfest
Berwyn’s really big Oktoberfest returns for its 12th year on September 20 and 21. The fun includes food, live performances, amusement rides, vendors and a traditional beer garden. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. Berwyn’s Historic Depot District at Windsor and Stanley Avenues, Berwyn, 708 788 8100.
11. Villa Park Oktoberfest
Villa Park’s Oktoberfest celebrates year 34 of their ambitious family fun festival on September 6, 7 and 8. Festivities include games, German food, music, ,a yodeling contest and a Bavarian pie eating contest. Lions Park 320 East Wildwood 630 834 8970.
12. Oakbrook Oktoberfest 2013
Look for Oakbrook’s 3rd annual Oak Brook Park District Oktoberfest to light up the fire with German food and barbeque on Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, they’ll be plenty of beer and good cheer, live music and family activities. Oak Brook Park District, 1450 Forest Gate Road. 630 645 9521.
The Bolingbrook Oktoberfest kicks off at 5 p.m. September 11 with a tapping of the first keg ceremony at The Promenade Bolingbrook. The traditional celebration features good old-fashioned fun with three food and beer tents, live musical entertainment provided by the Oktoberfest Oompah Band (5 p.m. until 7 p.m.), DJ entertainment (7 p.m.until 9 p.m.) plus a stein contest, German dancers, vendors, and a kids area with face painting, clown and a stilt walker. The Fest is just outside of Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant at the Promenade, 639 E. Boughton Road, Bolingbrook. 630 226 8420
14. Wilmette Oktoberfest
Superstitious? Then you may want to leave the black cat at home on Friday, September 13 when Wilmette holds its annual Oktoberfest from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. This popular festival features a very full day of activities kicking off with an antiques market at 9 a.m. plus family activities, an outdoor beer garden, a German diner and live music. St. Joseph School, 1740 Lake Ave., Wilmette.
15. HOPS! Oktoberfest
The Bridgeport VFW post know how throw a party. Once again expect them to pull out all the stops at their 16th annual Oktoberfest celebration kicking off at 1 p.m. on September 21. Lottsa craft beers and homebrews (from HOPS, Home Brewers Pride of the Southside), German food and more. $30, 3202 S. May St. Must be 21 or older. No door sales. Click here for tickets.
16. Oktoberfest 2013 at Goose Island Wrigleyville
The Polkaholics and Bolzen Beer Band will be shaking things up at Goose Island Wrigleyville’s Oktoberfest from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on September 27. Tickets include craft beers, pretzels, brats and entertainment. $45 3535 N. Clark St. 773 832 9040.
17. Lynfred Otroberfest
Although Lynfred Oktoberfest is known for its grape stomping and grape spitting contests, there’s lots more including German sing-a-longs, grilled bratwurst, chili and roasted corn. But Pig is king at the fest where you choose from a roasted pig sandwich or a full meal, served with warm German potato salad and all the fixings. 15 South Roselle Road, Lynfred. Hours: Saturday, October 5: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, October 6: Noon to 7 p.m., $3 Entrance Fee with kids 13 & Under Free. Food/Beverage Tickets $1.
18. Long Grove Oktoberfest
Long Grove celebrates the historic village’s German roots at their OktoberFest on Saturday and Sunday, October 13 and 14. The fest kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday with an old fashioned parade through the center of town. There’s lots to do including live entertainment, from folk dancing to a variety of German bands, family hayrides, pumpkin decorating and children’s activities plus beer, brats, and traditional German food. Old McHenry Rd. and Robert Parker Coffin Rd, Long Grove Admission and parking are free.
19. Woodstock Oktoberfest
Woodstock Oktoberfest will be tapping into fall festivities with traditional German fare, beverages, music and more on September 13 and September 14 at the Woodstock Water Works in Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road, Woodstock. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, free for children ages 18 and younger accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at Bohn’s Ace Hardware in Woodstock, Woodstock Public House, Woodstock Independent or online. 5 to 11 p.m. September 13 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. September 14.
20. Naperville Oktoberfest
Naperville Oktoberfest celebrates the season and their German heritage with live musical entertainment ranging from classic German Oompa music to classic rock, along with German beer and cuisine.
Family-friendly activities will be available on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The entrance to the festival will be through the Pre-Emption House Visitor Center. Parking is available in the Municipal Parking Garage on the corner of Eagle and Aurora and in the Naper Settlement visitor’s lot on Porter Avenue and Webster Street in Naperville. Hours: Friday 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday noon to 10 p.m.
21. Chicago Brauhaus Oktoberfest
Chicago Brauhaus, “where it is always Oktoberfest” celebrates the traditional Oktoberfest period with a special Oktoberfest menu, Spaten beer and live entertainment plus a Yodeling contest at 7 p.m. nightly. 4732 N Lincoln Ave. Wednesday thru Sunday, September 25 through October 27th.
22. The German American Festival (German Day Festival)
Celebrate the three B’s….beer, brats and bands at this 3-day German American Festival on September 6, 7, and 8. German music, dancing, cultural programs and even a parade set the scene at this popular Lincoln Square Festival. Steuben Parade is on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. N. Lincoln Avenue and W. Leland Avenue.
23. The Wurst Festival
This culinary and music festival on Daley Plaza on September 18 through September 20 will celebrate local and sustainable artisan sausage, craft beer and wine in addition to serving as an outdoor showcase for the Chicago Music Summit, a new local music conference presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events that spotlights Chicago’s thriving music scene with live performances. Bands from the Music Summit will be performing from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 5 to 7 p.m. each day. There will even be a battle of the matching bands on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m.
In addition to having local sausage and craft beer and wine, many local providers will be on hand to sell sauerkraut, breads, frozen sausages and locally pastured meats to take home.
The Wurst Festival’s main stage will also showcase chefs, butchers, sausage makers and other guest speakers throughout the day.
24. deca OktoberFest-Off
deca Restaurant hosts a battle of beer and brats Sunday, September 22 in the first OktoberFest-Off featuring sausages and brats from Chicago chefs paired with local brews from Half Acre and Revolution Brewing Company. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. From 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For tickets click here.
25. Oktoberfest at Shotay’s Bar N Grill
There’s a lot brewing including free brats, Bavarian pretzels and German potato salad at this south side venue near Midway airport at their one-day Oktoberfest on October 5. The event kicks off at 2 p.m. with a live band. They’ll also be Karaoke, games, a car show and more. 4311 West 47th St.
Click here for a link to more fall festivals.
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