The first Oktoberfest was in 1810—but it wasn’t until 1818 that they added beer. Now the Bavarian festivals are often held in September instead of October because the weather is milder. Go to honor your German heritage, someone else’s German heritage, or just, you know, beer.
Dates: Sept 23 and Sept 24
Why Go: For beer enthusiasts, the spoils are especially exciting: Admission includes a commemorative tasting cup and five 5.5oz samples.
Zenner’s Oaks Park Oktoberfest
Dates: Sept 23–25
Why Go: Hoping for something more interactive than beer-drinking and wiener-eating? This Portland venue has a pretzel toss, bear-hug race, chicken dance contest, and dog show.
Dates: Sept 30 and Oct 1
Why Go: For those hoping to get in a little exercise before they fill up on beer and brats, there’s the The Pumpkin Classic, a three–mile race full of mud, fun, and obstacles. Waves take off every half hour starting at 10am, with prizes for the top finishers.
Dates: Three weekends: Sept 30 and Oct 1, Oct 7 and 8, and Oct 14 and 15
Why Go: This Munich-inspired event has the traditional keg-tapping by the mayor, German food, and German bands. If you miss the festival proper, Eastern Washington’s German-themed town is practically a year-round Oktoberfest.
Anacortes Oktoberfest: Bier on the Pier
Dates: Oct 7 and 8
Why Go: In addition to brews from 30 purveyors, this waterfront shindig offers the fun of Halloween a few weeks early: There will be a prize giveaway on both Friday and Saturday for "best German costume."
Dates: Oct 7–9
Why Go: Instead of the typical 21 and up restriction, this family–friendly fest in Puyallup features a Corn Hole Toss, Ladder Toss, and Root Beer Garden for kids. All ages are welcome until 7pm on Saturday and all day on Sunday.