Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest across The US
Each year, Oktoberfest welcomes millions of visitors to Munich for partaking in this beloved folk festival. Yet if you have to stay stateside, but you still want to raise your stein and say “Prost,” consider going to an Oktoberfest happening in the United States. So don your dirndl or lederhosen and look at heading to these celebrations across the country – with no need for crossing over the Atlantic.
This German-rooted city in Texas Hill Country has all the usual Oktoberfest happenings but also some other fun happenings. There’s a Kraut Run consisting of 8K and 5K runs, a 5K walk and a children’s walk, a Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance lineup, and a tuba playing jamboree.
Dancing at Fredericksburg's Oktoberfest © Image courtesy of Oktoberfest Fredericksburg
Four stages host a continuous parade of German oompah, polka and waltzing, along with German, American and Texan beers and foods. October 4-6, 2019.
In this Bavarian-themed town northeast of Seattle, the weekend-long Leavenworth Oktoberfest opens its Saturday portion with a procession with a coat of arms known as a Muenchner Kindl and an afterwards keg tapping ceremony.
The festival itself has four venues – Festhalle, Tanz Halle, Bier Stube and Spass Platz – serving beer and food and presenting live music. Out-of-towners can also extend their experience through stays at Leavenworth’s Tiny House Village, which consists of five small Bavarian-themed lodges catering to an Instagram-worthy stay. October 4-19, 2019.
The Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa has a good mix of attractions for just about every attendee. A Bavarian team cup challenge has groups of eight striving to win a tug-of-war, a bier barrel race, a krug relay race and a stein hoisting competition.
The younger set can have their own fun at a children’s tent and wiener dogs can participate in both a dash and a parade.
Enjoying steins of beer in Tulsa © Image courtesy of Linde Tulsa Oktoberfest
Along with bratwurst and beer and continuous entertainment by the Das Glockenspiel, Oktoberfest will usher in a new elevated dining experience, known as Restaurant am Himmel, or Restaurant in the Sky. October 17-20, 2019.
This beach city near San Diego has its family-friendly Carlsbad Rotary Oktoberfest benefiting community-related charities. There are contests for best German male and female costumes and yodeling, area-produced craft beers, Chicken Dance performances and a spread of German delicacies.
Kids can spend time at a pumpkin patch or other activities, while bands will be performing traditional German and contemporary music. October 5, 2019.
Happening in downtown Milwaukee, the city’s annual event packs in a busy schedule during its three-day run. Its Friday portion has Stein Hoisting Competition, where contestants have to maintain holding a full one in front of them at a 90-degree angle. The weekend also features a Miss Oktoberfest pageant and a Brat Eating Contest. October 4-6, 2019.
Insdide the beer hall at Amana, Iowa's, Octoberfest © Image courtesy of Travel Iowa
Held in an area known as the Amana Colonies, a 19th-century German settlement, the Bavarian-style fun begins with a Friday Procession and Ceremonial Tapping of the Keg on Friday. Saturday’s portion starts with a morning parade featuring locally-sponsored floats. The weekend keeps going with competitive games. The Brezel Schmeissen involves catching a fabric-made pretzel on your head wearing a plunger device, while the Eisenmann is a competition of four events – beer stein holding, a keg toss, a balance walk and log sawing. October 4-6, 2019.
This Bavarian-themed city really keeps its Oktoberfest going, as the alpine village starts theirs in September, going through Thursday through Sunday, and then runs daily through late October.
Kicking off with a parade through town, the Georgian festival pays a nod to this German tradition with the city’s Festhalle being its location. Here, see a ceremonial keg tapping and sit at long tables for feasting on bratwursts, pretzels and other dishes while watching live entertainment. From early September through October 27, 2019.
This free Oktoberfest held at SteelStacks packs in a ton of activities that are both traditional and creative. To start, at the “Hasselhoff-Off,” contestants are judged on their best impersonation of Baywatch actor and German favorite David Hasselhoff.
Then there is also a bratwurst eating competition, the Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K run/walk, a Brewers' Village and a wiener dog parade. October 4-6 and 11-13, 2019.
Top Restaurants from a Top Chef: Spotlight on Lexington, Kentucky
Cole Arimes opened his first restaurant Coles 735 Main in 2012, and he’s been pushing Lexington’s culinary reputation into the national spotlight ever since. His second new restaurant, Epping’s On Eastside, is a stylish, lively eatery in a historic building specializing in elevated pub grub and wait-worthy brunches. Cole Arimes knows a thing or two about Lexington's food and drink scene © Erica Lee Photography This all comes as Lexington neighborhoods up their cool quotient. The Distillery District, for one, anchored by the newly refurbished historic James E. Pepper Distillery, draws revelers with bars (including one in the distillery), restaurants, an arcade, a brewery, and plenty more. We checked in with Cole to get his tips on dining around this dynamic town. The Best Burger: Wallace Station Deli Ouita Michel’s Kentucky bona fides run deep. She opened her first restaurant in 2001, and since then she’s opened seven more in the area, written cookbooks, appeared as a judge on Top Chef, garnered several James Beard Award nominations, and made very high-profile initiatives to support Kentucky farmers. But she hasn’t forgotten about simple pleasures, like a mighty fine burger. Cole heads to Wallace Station Deli, her farmhouse-style deli in Midway, about 30 minutes from Coles 735 Main, for his burger fix. And if his young son and daughter come along, not only do they appreciate the restaurant’s kid-friendly vibe, but the ride along the grassy landscape where thoroughbred horses roam captivates their attention during the trip. Best Latin Food: Corto Lima Cole has a hard time coming up with an answer when asked about his favorite dishes at Corto Lima. “Everything,” he replies. “The chicharonnes are awesome and the black bean and pork dish is excellent.” Run by Jonathan Lundy, James Beard Award semi-finalist and cookbook author, this Latin-inspired restaurant’s small-plate style lends itself to not having to choose favorites. Of course, few things go with this kind of food than a margarita. Cole considers their tequila and mezcal selection the best in the area. And while he’s more of a bourbon guy, “good margaritas aren’t all that bad now and then,” he admits. Best Ice Cream: Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge Cole let’s his kids call the shots on this one. Their vote is for the industrial-chic Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge. Yes, lounge. It’s known for eccentric flavors like coffee stout and dark chocolate truffle, and it’s all made in-house using as many local ingredients as possible. Ice cream cocktails are also on the menu. “The sundaes are all carefully composed and the ice cream dishes are just all-around fantastic,” he swears. He and his family are hardly the only ones who think that. She started about seven and a half years ago and has blown up in terms of the restaurants that carry her product. She was also one of the first to businesses to open in the Distillery District. Best Specialty Drinks Spot: Wise Bird Cider Company In late August, Cole went to Wise Bird Cider Company for the first time, an airy industrial-chic spot with long tables, outdoor seating, and charcuterie on the menu. Never much of a cider guy, he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he ended up liking it so much that now he’s carrying it at both his restaurants. As an added bonus, the space is kid-friendly. “You can let them loose to run around and not fear that they’re gonna tear the place up.” Best Fine Dining: Dudley’s on Short or Heirloom Cole sees his fellow chefs and restaurateurs as partners, not competitors. “We’re all in it together,” he insists. He tries to visit other restaurants when he’s not busy running his own two places of spending time with his kids. Dudley’s on Short, he says, is a longstanding local favorite, much respected for being in business since 1981. Located in a 19th century bank building, he describes it simply as “the tried and true.” He gushes over Heirloom. Its minimalist décor ensures there are no distractions from what Cole describes as seasonally driven meals that play on Californian cuisine. The team puts a premium on local ingredients, though a menu always includes a few staple dishes, like fried chicken livers and an excellent burger, by Cole’s estimation. But it’s the seasonal dishes that lend the place some excitement. “You never know what you’re gonna get every time you go in,” he says.
New Yorkers And Parisians Will Soon Have Another Option for Crossing The Pond
This week, low-cost long-haul airline French bee announced its latest route: beginning June 10, 2020, one flight will operate daily between Paris-Orly and Newark Liberty International. Prices won’t be announced until tickets go on sale on September 18, but fares for the carrier’s other routes start at US$189 (€212) for basic economy and US$239 (€268) for economy with extra amenities. (The airline only has a few destinations; it currently offers connections between Paris and Punta Cana, Réunion Island, Tahiti, and San Francisco, and between San Francisco and Paris and Tahiti.) When the EWR - ORY route launches next year, it will be with a fleet of Airbus A350 XWBs, a fuel-efficient aircraft that reportedly reduces CO² emissions by 25%. French bee says the planes were specifically designed with the comfort of long-haul passengers in mind, with air exchange every three minutes, serious sound insulation for four times less noise than the Boeing 787, and all-around LED lighting that makes it easier to nod off and wake up. That’s a good thing, too, because the only flight heading west to east is a red-eye, departing from Newark at 6:15 p.m. and arriving in Orly at 7:30 the next morning. On the return leg, it leaves Orly at 2:00 p.m. and lands at Newark at 4:15 p.m. “With our A350s, passengers are only experiencing pressure equivalent to a stay at an altitude of 1800 metres, creating a much more comfortable atmosphere,” says sales director Sophie Hocquez, adding that the inclination of the walls creates more space. “Our customers...have said they experience less fatigue, and are ready to enjoy their stay as soon as they step on the ground.”
The USA’s Best Fall Wine Harvest Festivals
Come September and October, vineyards begin to harvest the grapes that they’ve ever so carefully grown and cared for all season. Vineyards around the world celebrate their bounty with end-of-harvest festivities. Marking the occasion with music and dancing in the vines to food, grape stomping contests and plenty of vino. Willamette Valley Vineyards – Turner, Oregon Every year Willamette Valley Vineyards, celebrates the end of harvest with a Grape Stomp Championship and Harvest Celebration. So kick off your shoes and get ready to stomp! This year marks the 29th year, and it will take place on September 21st and 22nd in Oregon wine country. The winners of the competition receive an all-expense paid trip to the World Championship Grape Stomp in Santa Rosa. In addition to stomping, guests can enjoy Willamette Valley Vineyards’ latest wine releases (a tasting flight is included with the $15 admission). Guests are also welcome to try the custom harvest-inspired menu created by Winery Chef, DJ MacIntyre, along with live music and lawn games. Calaveras Winegrape Alliance – Murphys, California You’ll feel like you’re going back in time in Murphys, California, a historic Gold Country town nestled in the Sierra foothills. But don’t let that fool you; they sure know how to celebrate the end of harvest. Every first Saturday in October, the town of Murphys transforms into a frenzy of activity with two popular events. Organized by the Calaveras Wine Alliance, the Annual Calaveras Grape Stomp includes energetic stomp competitions every half hour. You can also look forward to live and silent auctions, a team costumes contest and wine tastings of course. Just half a block away, there’s something for everyone at the Annual Gold Rush Street Faire. Main Street fills with over 100 booths of local food, handmade jewelry, unique fashion, art and crafts and more. Château Elan Winery & Resort – Braselton, Georgia The good thing about this winery is that it has a resort just in case you taste too much delicious wine. Château Elan celebrates the end of harvest season with a massive Vineyard Fest on November 17th in the north Georgia foothills. With 1500 guests annually, the festival is sure to be even bigger this year after a $25 million renovation that will be unveiled. This year’s theme is “Flavors of the South” with a spotlight on the local restaurants. Guests can look forward to tasting over 100 beers and wines and a myriad of food stations with everything from pralines to fried green tomatoes. Don’t worry – there will be plenty of grape-stomping to burn off those calories. Niagara Falls Wine Region – Niagara Falls, New York This is a celebration to remember! More than 20 vineyards throughout Niagara Falls USA’s wine region come together for the annual Harvest Festival on September 21st and 22nd. As part of the festival, each vineyard pairs its wine with a harvest-themed appetizer, salad, soup, side dish or dessert. So come hungry! Tickets are $22 and include a tasting of three wines with a food sample at each participating winery. Some dishes to look out for include a lavender and sage ratatouille paired with Liten Buffel’s 2017 Perfetto Vineyard Pinot Noir. Or Long Cliff Winery & Vineyards savory pumpkin macaroni and cheese paired with their 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir. The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey – Cañon City, Colorado Head to The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey for a free harvest event in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. The Harvest Festival is an annual event where partygoers can indulge in local foods and enjoy blues and jazz bands. Want to make your own wine? Anyone attending ehe Harvest Festival is able to bring their own grapes to be added to that year’s unique “Canon Harvest” wine batch. This all goes down on September 28th and 29th, and the community batch will eventually be bottled and sold. Guests can also splurge on a special dining experience with the Winemakers Dinner Friday night for a cost of $125 per ticket. The chef will highlight Colorado produce, meats, fish, and cheeses in the creation of the menus. Think miso trout and brown butter sage gnocchi, all paired with divine wine. Morgan Creek Vineyards – New Ulm, Minnesota Thanks to its strong German heritage, New Ulm, Minnesota, does Oktoberfest like no other the first two weekends every October. Part of New Ulm’s Oktoberfest celebration, Morgan Creek Vineyards’ annual Grape Stomp kicks off the first Saturday in October. Visitors can enjoy German music and dance performances, food and wine pairings, tours and more. Now, back to the main event. October 5th is the grape stomp competition day, where teams of three to five stompers compete to produce the largest volume of juice stomped from fresh grapes. The prize: bragging rights and a free case of wine. A costume contest is also held in conjunction with the grape stomp. Good luck!
World's First Cheese Conveyor-Belt Restaurant Lands in London
Billed as the world’s first cheese conveyor-belt restaurant, Pick & Cheese comes courtesy of the Cheese Bar team and opens its doors on 7 September in Seven Dials Market, a new food hall in Covent Garden. “We’ve been looking for the perfect spot in the West End for a while now,” says founder Matthew Carver. “We think this style of cheese and wine bar will work so well here – it’s the perfect stop for a pre-theater snack or to refuel after a hard days’ shopping.” Dairy-lovers can belly up to the bar, where spots are first-come, first-served, and spend an hour choosing from cheddar, Stilton, Gouda, and more as they whizz around the 40-metre belt. (“Cheese should always be served at room temperature,” says Carver.) Plates are color-coded by price, so you barely have to think before you grab, say, a £2.95 Mayfield cheese from East Sussex’s Alsop & Walker or a £6.10 bresaola made in Tottenham. With more than 25 varieties sourced from all over the UK, you might be tempted to try one of each. Carver recommends the Kingham, a brand new cheese released this summer that’s served with walnut fudge for a classic salty-sweet combination; Londonshire, from Wildes Cheese just up the road in Tottenham, that’s being paired with honeyed garlic; and Beauvale, “a blue for people who ‘don’t like blue cheese,’” with house-made sticky pear jam. “Over the years, we’ve built up a repertoire of our favorites, and have been waiting for the perfect chance to put them on our menu,” Carver says. “We’ve tried to cater to the more well-known flavor profiles, as well as trying to push people out of their comfort zone to try something new.”As for the conveyor belt itself, it’s been a few years in the making, but it was always part of the plan. “In our Camden restaurant, our customers always want to pick different cheeses from our house list, and create their own bespoke cheeseboard,” Carver says. “We wanted to come up with a way to offer this, whilst showcasing the cheeses at their very best.”