Top 5 Oktoberfests You Should Attend This Fall
The playing of the alpenhorns at Snowbird’s Oktoberfest. Photo Credit: Chris Segal
This time of year always has me Oktoberfest dreaming. Massive tents filled with lederhosen clad patrons all hoisting a stein in celebration of the anniversary of the marriage of the Bavarian King Ludwig I many, many years ago…
Who am I kidding? They’re celebrating the copious amounts of beer, brats and Bavarian pretzels that are available to them at a snap of their fingers.
This is especially true when it comes to the many ski towns that have really cornered the market on Oktoberfest. With the sounds of polka bands ringing from the mountain air across the country, it can be tough to choose which one or ones you should attend. No worries, we have you covered.
Here are this year’s can’t-miss-mountain-town Oktoberfest celebrations from all over the U.S..
22nd Annual Mount Snow Oktoberfest
October 12 & 13
There is a reason Oktoberfest at Mount Snow was dubbed The Best Fall Event of 2018 by Yankee Magazine, it is a weekend long marathon of events filled with fun for the whole family. Kick the everything off with the Gulp and Gallop Beer Run (there’s even a kid’s version) on Saturday.
Then strap your day drinking shoes on to taste beers from at least 25 breweries under the tent while kids can hang in the Kid’s Zone and enjoy a series of fun family-friendly activities.
Pro Tip: Get in early pick your spot to set up and purchase your limited edition large stein. More beer = less waiting on line.
The 34th Annual Oktoberfest At Mountain Creek Resort
September 22nd – 23rd
It’s no secret – New Jersey knows how to throw a party and Mountain Creek’s Oktoberfest is a prime example of that. Can you say 100 different types of beer, ciders, hard sodas and seltzers? As if that is not enough, there is live music both at the base and the mountaintop coupled with a slew of activities for the entire family like petting zoos, relay races, and more. While the kiddos enjoy the pie eating contest, parents can test their mettle in the stein hoisting and – fan favorite – wife carrying competitions.
Pro Tip: Pre-purchase the Hoffbrau Feast package so you can eat to your heart’s content as you hang late on Sunday for the annual fireworks.
August 17 – October 20
Regulars know that there are only two seasons at Snowbird, ski season and Oktoberfest. Hosting over 60,000 visitors a year over the course of two months and now in its 47th year, Snowbird’s is the grand daddy of them all.
Make your way to the newly remodeled German Festhalle and enjoy the sweet smell of brats wafting through the air. Down beers like Squatters Snowbird Dunkelweiss, then hike up your lederhosen and do the polka. Resident dancers Sylvia and Walter Schwemmer, 47 year veterans of the event and now in their 90’s are there to show you how. There’s even a mustache and beard contest that is a must see.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead and book a scenic helicopter tour at Snowbird’s Oktoberfest through Powderbird. It’s a new addition to Oktoberfest this year at Snowbird. Just remember, helicopter first, then beer. Not the other way around!
Steamboat Springs OktoberWest
Many brewers list this as their top event to attend all year and so should you. Steamboat Springs has made it their own by adding some western flare to the traditional festival and dubbing it OktoberWest.
Beer and beef are the name of the game. Kick the weekend off right with Friday night’s beer stroll. Enjoy this historic cowboy town as you leisurely wander through Steamboat drinking beers from any of the 20 participating restaurants. Saturday, savor beers from over 40 craft breweries and live music from the band Waker. Most importantly, there is the infamous beef brisket cook off where local chefs vie for the best brisket in town.
Pro Tip: Parking can get pretty dicey so Park at McKnights Irish Pub (they have a lot of parking spots available) and take the free bus up to the mountain.
Sawtooth Brewery Oktoberfest
If you are looking for a real life version of the movie Beerfest, then you have come to the right place. Where else can teams of four compete in the Beer Olympics and coveted title of Das Boot? The traditional keg tapping kicks things off on Friday but Saturday is when the action really heats up.
Surprisingly, it’s not all about the beer… well maybe it is, a little. Earn your après, so to speak, by running the Sun Valley Half Marathon in the morning. Then descend on Ketchum town square which will be rocking with plenty of live music and games as you enjoy tasty Bavarian treats and wash them all down with Sawtooth’s refreshing brews. Das Boot! Das Boot! Das Boot!
Pro Tip: The stein is your ticket to drink… literally! Anyone can attend the event but only those with Sawtooth glassware can drink. So be sure to get yours.
Bonus: Arapahoe Basin Oktoberfest
With only one year under its belt, A-Basin’s Oktoberfest doesn’t have the pedigree yet to stand up to some of the others, but it is rather unique. Picture having an Oktoberfest themed neighborhood party, except your hood is situated at about 11,000 feet up. Spend a cool day in the mountains with your family as you work up an appetite hiking or biking. Then relax in Mountain Goat Plaza as you enjoy backyard games, live Austrian folk music and pretzels and beers so big they’ll hide your face.
Pro Tip: Oktoberfest day (Sat., Sept. 14 this year) is the only day of the year they offer free scenic chair lift rides! Skip the hike to mid-mountain and take a casual ride up to enjoy the incredible views of the Continental Divide at 11,500 feet. Chair lift rides will be available from 11 AM to 3 PM.