Beer-themed Oktoberfest celebrations are held in many other cities around the world, some in October and some in September, which has more predictably favorable weather. The largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany is “Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest” in Ontario, Canada. The largest in the United States “Oktoberfest Zinzinnati” is in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Short history of Oktoberfest
The tradition of Oktoberfest began in Munich, Germany in 1810 when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Week-long nuptial festivities began on October 12 and ended on October 17, with a horse race concluding the celebration. And the wedding ceremony, of course. Munich celebrations were repeated every year after that first wedding celebration, giving rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.
Over the years, the character of the festival changed to include an agricultural fair, carousels and other amusements, and beer stands that became large beer halls. The popular horse races fell out of favor and are no longer held today. The beer halls became immensely popular. Go figure.
Over 200 years later, the Munich Oktoberfest is the largest festival on Earth, with over six million visitors from around the world spending nearly a half-billion dollars during the two-week event. Attendees drink million of gallons of beer, eat thousands of pounds of sausage, and consume nearly a half-million spit-roasted chickens. Zum wohl!
Why is Oktoberfest spelled so funny?
Oktober is simply the German spelling for the month of October. That’s it. No hidden meanings or other folklore is attached.
Oktoberfest in the Seattle-Tacoma metro area
The Seattle area is home to a several beer festivals in the fall. The following list of events are some of the longest running and largest October beer festivals in the Puget Sound region.
(Listed alphabetically by city or location location. )
Anacortes Bier on the Pier features breweries, cideries, food trucks, and live music with the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel. After the festival stay overnight and take a stroll through historic downtown Anacortes to find unique shops, live music at multiple venues, and restaurants featuring beer and ciders from the festival. Anacortes has a wide variety of hotels, local inns, and bed and breakfast locations. 21+ only. More info: Upcoming Events – Experience Anacortes
Kirkland Oktoberfest is the Seattle area’s largest authentic Oktoberfest and München-style biergarten on the Kirkland waterfront. 21+ only.
Leavenworth, WA Oktoberfest is the next best thing to being at the world’s largest beer festival in Munich, Germany. Leavenworth Oktoberfest occurs on the first three weekends of October. Minors are allowed until 9 pm with an adult.
Oktoberfest Northwest in Puyallup is a Munich-inspired Festhalle at the Washington State Fairgrounds. Enjoy traditional Oktoberfest music and dance, authentic German food, a large variety of German beers poured in steins, Wiener Dog Races, Stein Dash 5K, Sports Haus, Bavarian Bier-lympics, Root Beer Garden, and the Northwest’s exclusive Hammerschlagen® Tournament of Champions. The event closes out Friday and Saturday nights with top cover bands from around Puget Sound. Discount on advance purchase tickets. All-ages until 6pm. Hours: Friday, Oct. 7: 12pm – Midnight; FREE admission until 3pm. Saturday, Oct. 8: 11am – Midnight. Sunday, Oct. 9: 11am – 6pm – Half price day! You might also like: Washington State Fair events at Puyallup Fairgrounds – Greater Seattle on the Cheap
Seattle Fremont Oktoberfest is Seattle’s largest fall beer festival held in September outdoors in the streets of Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. 21+ only; meaning no babes in arms, in strollers, or in backpacks. None. Nichts. Nada. Verboten.
Seattle Woodland Park “Brew at the Zoo” every fall is a beer tasting event like no other where you can sample delicious imports, domestics, microbrews, and ciders from over 40 breweries. From pilsner to stout, you’re sure to find a new favorite! In addition, there is opportunity to meet some of the zoo’s most eccentric animals with up-close encounters of their ambassador animals! Food is available for purchase. All money raised supports conservation projects both locally and globally. After (zoo) hours event. Rain or shine. 21+ only. More info: Brew at the Zoo – Woodland Park Zoo Seattle WA
Seattle Wallingford Wurst Festival is an Oktoberfest-style celebration that takes place every September at St. Benedict School in a family-friendly neighborhood environment with food, games, vendors, and live music. Family friendly. Free admission.
Listed below is our calendar of upcoming Oktoberfest events.
Upcoming Oktoberfest beer or cider festivals
The following list of Oktoberfest events is updated beginning in late summer for fall beer and cider festivals around the Puget Sound region.