Fall is here, which means there is fresh oxygen, football and lots of food and beer in your near future. Here are our five favorite food events of the fall.
Addison Oktoberfest Outside of the original festival in Munich, Addison hosts the largest Oktoberfest celebration on the planet. More than 75,000 people will experience the four-day event, which includes all sorts of German-themed events like a yodeling contest, Dachshund races, a German spelling bee, barrel rolling, and more.
This year, they're pretty excited to introduce Chamberlain's BrauHaus, a pop-up restaurant with three courses and beer pairings that will have two seatings each night. Another new addition is Isaac Russo's "Texas Pit Stop" -- Isaac's deep fried Cuban roll just won the Best Taste at the 2013 Big Tex Awards -- serving elk and boar bratwurst sandwiches at his own draft house. There will be the usual fare too: strudel, crepes, schnitzel, German roasted nuts, and non-elk bratwursts. And beer. Got kids? Oktoberfest works hard to be family-friendly as well as beer-friendly. There's a children's tent with carnival games, as well as a 30,000 square foot air-conditioned tent for the drunks and whiny alike to cool off.
September 19-22 Admission: $5 or $10, depending on when you go. Food cost: $5-$12 Booze: Lots Expected attendance: 75,000
Greek Food Festival The Greek Food Festival in Dallas has been an annual event for 57 years. Sponsored by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, the festival is a testament to the Greek culture. Instead of bringing in restaurants to do the cooking, all of the food is prepared by members of the church on outdoor grills and rotisseries. This year, they're introducing lamb sliders -- sliced leg of lamb with tzatziki sauce on a bun. Other offerings include chicken oreganato, souvlaki, gyros, dolmas, pastitso, spanakopita, Greek coffee, baklava sundaes, and imported wine and beer. After the sun goes down, live Greek music will inspire traditional Greeks and Highland Park women who've seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" to shout "Opa!" and release their inner Zorba. What's not to love?
September 27-29 Admission: $6 for adults, free for kids Food cost: Average of $6 Booze: Yes Expected attendance: 18,000
Japanese Fall Festival Every year since 1986, the Dallas Japanese Association has hosted a festival to offer local Japanese children the opportunity to participate in authentic cultural experience. The event is held in the parking lot of the DJA offices at 4100 Alpha Rd and features a variety of Japanese folk celebrations, including a Cherry Blossom Chorus, Kendo demonstration, and a J-Pop band. As with any cultural festival, food plays a large part in the afternoon. Local restaurants -- "only the best and most authentic," I was told -- are invited to participate, serving traditional food like yakisoba (fried ramen-style noodles with sliced meat and vegetables) and takoyaki (a ball of baked flour, filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger, and onion).
September 22 Admission: Free Food cost: $3-$10 Booze: No Expected attendance: 3,000
Santa Fe Days on the Square If you want authentic Native American food in Dallas -- and now that I've mentioned it, you kind of do -- your best chance is to be at the Santa Fe Festival in Carrollton's Historic Square. There are two Native American cooks who make handheld meat pies and a variety of "fry breads," which apparently are exactly what they sound like -- 8 to 10 inches of solid dough, fried in vegetable oil.
Want something more substantial? Pile it high with pinto beans, beef, lettuce, and tomato and you've got yourself a fry bread taco. Dessert? May we interest you in fry bread with butter, cinnamon and sugar? I can dig it.
While you're eating fry bread, be sure to check out the "Indigenous Grocery Store," a display that points out the Native American roots of many things we take for granted, and the "Food as Medicine" booth, in case you want someone besides the people at Whole Foods to tell you to eat dandelion roots. Chester Nez, the last living WWII code talker, will make an appearance, as well as various other dancers, weavers and sculptors.
October 12-13 Admission: Free Food cost: $5-$8 Booze: No Expected attendance: 8,000
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Diwali Diwali is the most important Hindu festival and is a national holiday in India. Thus, the Dallas Diwali festival, organized by the D/FW Indian Cultural Society and staged at the Cotton Bowl, is a celebration of all things Indian. Featuring fireworks, flowers, carnival games for the kids, Bollywood dancing, and performances by Indian pop stars, their goal is to re-create an authentic Indian experience for the significant Indian-American population in D/FW.
According to Satish Gupta, one of the organizers, the food is one of the primary attractions. Prepared by both volunteers and local restaurants, the event makes an effort to make sure that each distinct regional style of Indian food is represented.
November 2 Admission: $5 in advance, $7 at the gate Food cost: $5-$10 Booze: No Expected attendance: 40,000