Break out the dirndl and lederhosen. The autumn equinox is coming, which means it is once again time for Oktoberfest. Seattle has its own festivities, but there are others in the region, from late September and into October. Here are five Oktoberfest celebrations in and around Seattle.
Fremont Oktoberfest, Seattle, WA (September 23-25, 2016)
Every September, Fremont becomes the center of Seattle’s beer-drinking universe when it hosts Fremont Oktopberfest, the largest Oktoberfest in Seattle. This year is its 20th anniversary, and the event benefits the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. There are a variety of ticket options available, including limited VIP packages for $50 and festival-only (non drinker) admission for $20.
Enjoy seasonal microbrews, more than 80 craft beers, live music and contests. The kids area on Saturday and Sunday features zucchini racing and pumpkin carving. And bring the pooch on Sunday, September 25 for Dogtoberfest.
Also on Sunday is the festival’s beer run, The Alpine Climb 5K. (The alps in this case are the hills of Gas Works Park.) The route follows the shores of Lake Union to the Finish Line Beer Garden, located at the Fremont Oktoberfest festival entrance. The run is all ages, but runners 21 and up get a celebratory beer included in their $25 registration.
Read more and get tickets on the official website. Buy tickets before September 23 for lower prices.
Kirkland Oktoberfest, Kirkland, WA (September 23-25, 2016)
Across Lake Washington at the Marine Park Pavilion, Kirkland hosts the biggest Oktoberfest for the east side, benefiting multiple nonprofits. Three of the festival’s beer gardens focus on German imports, but the fourth located just by the Biergarten Stage features favorites from PNW microbreweries. Games include human foosball, stein hoisting, keg rolling, beer pong and (ahem) corn hole. There will be plenty of hot pretzels and wieners at the food stands, and on Sunday there will also be Wiener Dog Races. (The dog races are for all ages, and take place outside the perimeter of the fair, which is strictly 21+.)
The really important competition, The Homebrew Competition, takes place before Kirkland Oktoberfest begins, but there will be an awards ceremony during the weekend. Read more on the official website and buy tickets.
Renton Oktoberfest, Seattle, WA (September 23-24, 2016)
South of Seattle, one of the newer additions to the regional Oktoberfestivities is the Renton Oktoberfest, now in its fifth year. For families who want to participate in a smaller, kid-friendly setting, it’s a good (cheaper) alternative to the Fremont and Kirkland Oktoberfests. A large outdoor biergarten will be staged next to the Pavilion Event Center in downtown Renton. Naturally, there will be live music and games, and it is open to all ages, with activities for children in the afternoon. After 6pm, it’s ages 21+. The event benefits the Renton Chamber of Commerce. Read more and buy tickets on the official website.
Leavenworth Oktoberfest, Leavenworth, WA (Sept 30 and Oct 1, 7, 8, 14 & 15, 2016)
Leavenworth is a picturesque mountain town modeled after a Bavarian village. Naturally, it offers the most authentic Oktoberfest experience in the region and attracts over 10,000 visitors annually during its three weekends. Family-friendly activities include a Kinderplatz with climbing wall, bouncing toys and clown entertainers.
There are plenty of comfort food options available besides your standard German fare if you want something else between beers. And if you pick a weekend when the weather is good, the stunning views and fresh air will offer peaceful interludes between runs to the beer gardens. There are free shuttles between the main venues in Leavenworth, so you don’t have to drive once there. It’s possibly the most relaxing of the Oktoberfest options, as you have a whole town to explore rather than a partitioned area.
You don’t actually have to drive to get there, either. You can book an inexpensive ride on the Leavenworth Shuttle from Seattle to the town. Book your shuttle ride online. Learn more and purchase passes on the official site.
Oktoberfest Northwest, Puyallup, WA (October 7-9, 2016)
The last big hurrah of the 2016 Oktoberfest season west of the cascades happens at the Washington State Fair Event Center, October 7-9. Oktoberfest Northwest combines all of the events seen at the other regional fetes: wiener dog races, a 5k fun run (the Stein Dash), live dancing and music, and games, including beer pong, corn hole and the highly addictive Hammerschlagen competition. Admission to Hammerschlagen is free, but first-come, first-served. The top three winners take home prizes.
The entertainment runs from noon to almost midnight each day, but the event goes from all ages to 21+ at 7pm. Aside from the Stein Dash, Oktoberfest Northwest is an indoor event, so it goes on rain or shine.
Admission is free from noon to 3 PM on Friday. Tickets are $12 after 3pm on Friday and all day Saturday. Sunday tickets are $6. Free parking is available in the event center’s blue lot. Learn more on the official website and purchase tickets.
Lead image courtesy of Fremont Oktoberfest.