As many of you are already aware, Oktoberfest is upon us. I am not a beer drinker, but since my husband is German (and I lived in Germany for two years) I can't help but know more stuff about beer than I ever thought I would! Beer is an everyday part of life to most Germans. This does not mean that they are all alcoholics, it just means it's an important part of the cultural heritage.
And while most Germans enjoy their beer, Oktoberfest is a Bavarian celebration (Bavaria is a state in southern Germany). It's generally the most popular destination for American tourists because of it's beautiful and pristine small villages and interesting and fun big cities.
Oktoberfest is held each year in Munich to celebrate beer. The festival grew out of the wedding celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his bride, Princess Therese, in 1810. A horse race was held and the people of Bavaria were invited to attend. This proved to be quite successful, so they decided to hold the horse race again the following year.
By 1938 the horse race was eliminated after the festival took on a life of its own. Now there are parades, rides, food and of course, beer. The festival grounds are so huge it becomes a temporary city each year with its own police force, post office and fire brigade!
With Western Pennsylvania having such a strong German ancestry, it's no surprise that there are many Oktoberfests held in and around the Pittsburgh area each year. Some are more family friendly than others, so you may want to check ahead of time. While a few have already taken place there are still several coming up within the next few weekends (along with some traditional Fall Festivals).
Oktoberfest and Fall festivals in the area
Penn Brewery -- Festivities this weekend (9/27-9/29) at this North Side brewery.
Hofbrauhaus -- Head there this weekend (9/27-9/28) for a Munich-style celebration on the South Side.
Sewickely Oktoberfest -- German bands and food (10/4-10/5)
Rivertowne Brewing Fall Fest -- Beer sampling at food at their Export Brewery location (9/28 with a family friendly time and an adult only time).
Penn's Colony Festival -- The popular colonial-style marketplace returns for its 30th year. (9/28-9/29)
Trax Farms Fall Festival -- For family fun, head to Finleyville for this annual festival (every weekend through 10/27).
Clarion Autumn Leaf Festival -- This marks the 60th anniversary of this large, annual affair celebrating the town and the university (through 9/29).
Delmont Apple 'N Arts Festival -- If you love all things apples, then this is the festival for you! (10/5 -10/6).
Autumn Fest at Seven Springs -- This is one of the most popular fall fests in Western PA, so don't miss it! (every weekend through 10/20).
-- Post by Tracy