History of Oktoberfest
Mid-September to early October signals the change in season from summer to autumn. The leaves on the trees start to change color, the air gets crisper and Halloween is just around the corner. This time of year is very popular for fall and pumpkin festivals and Oktoberfest festivals. Event goers throughout the world raise a mug to celebrate Oktoberfest, an annual Volksfest and Bavarian beer festival started in Munich 205 years ago. Oktoberfest originated from a wedding celebration for King Ludwig 1st of Bavaria (then Prince Ludwig) to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburgausen in Munich, Germany on October 12, 1810. The wedding was celebrated with horse races and feasts on large fields, named, “Theresienwiese”, located near the prince’s castle. The festivities were so popular that they were repeated the next year and gave rise to the annual Munich Oktoberfest celebrations that we know today. The Munich Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world annually attracting more than six million people from around the world during the 3 week festival. The Munich Oktoberfest serves millions of gallons of specially brewed Oktoberfest beer, great food (especially pretzels), and has great entertainment. German immigrants spread the traditions of Oktoberfest around the world. In the United States, there are many great Oktoberfest celebrations from San Francisco to Cincinnati.
Oktoberfest Festival in Maryland and Northern Virginia
There are many Oktoberfest celebrations in the Maryland and Northern Virginia during September and October. The major events will take place at fairgrounds and town squares while others take place at local German restaurants. Below is list of just a few of the Oktoberfest festivities in the Maryland and Northern Virginia areas:
Das Best Oktoberfest
Baltimore’s 2015 cultural and ethnic festival season is winding down with the changing season, but there are still a few more events in October and November! Das Best Oktoberfest has two celebrations in the Washington and Baltimore areas. The first is at National Harbor on September 26th from 3pm to 9pm. The free family friendly event will feature German and festival food, beer and schnapps stands, live music, and German dancers. The second Das Best Oktoberfest Baltimore event will be held at the M & T Stadium Parking Lots on Saturday, October 10th from noon to 6pm. This is a 21 and over event only. Participants will receive a souvenir tasting glass, so they can sample some of the over 150 international, domestic and local Maryland beers, domestic wines and schnapps that will be showcased during the event. There will also be several food vendors throughout the event offering the best in bratwurst, sausages and other German food, musical performances and games.
Wunder Garten Oktoberfest
The NoMa neighborhood in Washington D.C. will be celebrating Oktoberfest with community events and a celebration at the Wunder Garten September 28th to October 4th. There will be community events Monday through Thursday for the entire family. The weekend will have “over 21” celebrations including traditional Bavarian musicians, games and activities, food, and of course, German beer! Advance tickets are required for the weekend events.
Frederick Oktoberfest takes place October 3rd and 4th at the Frederick Fairgrounds. This Maryland Oktoberfest is sponsored by the Rotary Clubs of Carroll and Southern Frederick Counties. There will be traditional German food including bratwurst, sauerbraten, and strudel, Oktoberfest beer, Maryland wine, music and children’s events. There is a sports tent to catch up on the day’s NCAA and professional football games. The festival helps to raise funds for the Rotary club to support local events in their communities.
Celebrate fall at Oktoberfest Reston in Reston’s Town Center on October 11th and 12th. The festival is produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and is the largest fall festival in Northern Virginia. There will be traditional Oktoberfest fare including German beers and food provided by local restaurants. There will also be live entertainment, dancing demonstrations and children activities. As part of the festival weekend, there will be a Pumpkin 5K on October 11th starting at 8:15am.
Oktoberfest at the Kentlands
The city of Gaithersburg presents Oktoberfest at the Kentlands on October 11th. The 24th annual event is held on the Kentlands Village Green in front of the Kentlands Mansion and spreads out to Main Street and Market Square. There will be wine tasting from local wineries, a traditional beer garden, traditional German bands, dancers and more. There will also be a traditional fall festival with horse drawn wagon rides, bouncy houses, crafts for children and arts & crafts vendors.
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