Regardless of the hellish temperatures, fall officially arrives Sept. 23. For many, such a calendar designation means the arrival of football season, getting settled in a new school year or even a new slate of television shows that will almost certainly be canceled within a few weeks.
But for many of us, the end of the summer means we’re just that much closer to Oktoberfest season.
The granddaddy Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is the globe’s largest volksfest (beer festival). For a couple of centuries now, beginning annually in late September, Oktoberfest takes over Munich for longer than two weeks. But of course, there are plenty of chances to raise a stein of Marzen lager (Oktoberfest beer) here in the United States, especially throughout North Texas.
Texas is indeed a melting pot, with German heritage making up a considerable portion of that. When it comes time to celebrate the cultural traditions of our ancestors and their native lands, it stands to reason that the Lone Star State knows how to do it right. And while bier is certainly a top attraction, a great Oktoberfest has something for everyone, no matter how old. Games, contests and sweets can always be easily enjoyed.
Here are a few great Oktoberfest celebrations to check out in North Texas.
Addison OktoberfestThursday-Sunday, Sept. 19-22
Addison Circle Park, 4950 Addison Circle, Addison
Often scheduled to coincide with the beginning of Munich’s Oktoberfest, Addison’s version is as grand and admirable as you’ll find around our neck of the woods. More than 30 years old, Addison Oktoberfest features a massive, 2,200-seat “partyhalle” where German food and live music can be consumed along with Paulaner Oktoberfest. Be sure to check out one of the many legit polka and traditional bands on one of two stages.
McKinney OktoberfestFriday-Sunday, Sept. 27-29
Historic Downtown McKinney, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney
As much as any other Oktoberfest around these parts, McKinney’s version honors the local beer-loving spirit of the earliest ever Oktoberfests in Germany. There’ll be Hofbrau, which is an appropriate, traditional choice, but McKinney’s own Franconia Brewing and Tupps Brewing will also be on hand with their seasonal offerings. Franconia, with its long-held adherence to traditional German brewing styles and flavors, is maybe the most appropriate locally-brewed beer in North Texas for this season. And the MassKrug (liter stein) available for 10 tickets ($10) is pretty boss.
Frisco Oktoberfest5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Frisco Square, 8843 Coleman Blvd., Frisco
This is a first-year event, so plenty of new, suburban traditions will surely begin. Allen’s Nine Band Brewing will be serving a range of its beers, including its Ghost Cow Oktoberfest, and as an exclusive to the Frisco Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Spice Bier. So, true to form, pumpkin spice simply will not be ignored in the ’burbs. You can buy food and beer tickets in advance, which is a very cool thing so you can avoid that line at the event and spend more time in the beer lines.
Garland Guzzler & Oktoberfest6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Downtown Garland Square, 520 W. State St., Garland
Perhaps the 3- and 6-mile distances of the Rahr race are too long for you? Perhaps running a 0.5K is more your speed? Back for a second year, the Garland Guzzler is a quick run around the downtown square, which is just enough to work up a thirst.
Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest 5K9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth
Sure, Fort Worth is hosting its own Oktoberfest at Panther Island Pavilion, but we like the idea of working up a sweat before downing a few pints of Rahr’s always excellent Oktoberfest brew. For the 10th edition of this particular fest, music and games, including a stein hoisting contest, will be a part of the party, but every runner will also get a shot of Firestone and Walker’s TX Whiskey along the race route, which is as unique as it is likely inadvisable.
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Oktoberfest Dallas10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28
Flag Pole Hill, 8015 Doran Circle (Northeast Dallas)
There’ll be plenty of brats and pretzels to go around at this one, as well as less-than-traditional offerings from a number of restaurants, including Aw Shucks and Steel City Pops. And the music is equally non-German with Beastie Boys cover band Rhymin’ and Stealin’ performing along with Tom Petty cover band Petty Theft.
Oktoberfest SouthlakeFriday-Sunday, Oct. 4-6
Southlake Town Square, 1256 Main St., Southlake
In its 19th year, Southlake’s Oktoberfest offers free admission and free parking. Also intriguing is the inclusion of 1980s party band Molly Ringwalds to the music schedule that includes the greatest polka band to ever call this area home, Brave Combo.