Your guide to the best Texas-style Oktoberfest celebrations in Central Texas

One of the best things about having thousands of German immigrants settles in Texas beginning in the 1840s is the proliferation of Oktoberfest celebrations that happen each autumn. Just like the German Oktoberfest, which is held each year in Munich for 16 days from late September through the first weekend in October, our Texan versions of the festival place a strong emphasis on beer and traditional Bavarian food.

The differences between our local festivals and the original Oktoberfest are that Texans don’t stick to the exact dates, nor do we serve only German beer. Here is a rundown of where you can hoist a liter in your lederhosen starting today, September 28 and going straight through November.

AustOberfest
Saturday, September 28
Scholz Beer Garden, Saengerrunde Hall
1607 San Jacinto Blvd
Austin, TX
Admission Price: $35.00

In its first year, this Bavarian bash features open taps pouring German beers like Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr and piles of German-style sausage and other eats from Black’s BBQ, Easy Tiger, Frank, Louie Mueller, Meyers Elgin Sausage, Micklethwait Craft Meats, Opa’s, Salty Sow Southside Market, School House Pub and Taylor Cafe. Work off a few calories by dancing to live music from White Ghost Shivers, Possum Posse and Off The Grid. All of this, along with full access to the rooftop biergarten and the bowling alley are included in the price of admission. Proceeds from the event will benefitFoodways Texas.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival
Saturday, September 28
Fiesta Gardens
Austin, TX
Admission Price: $20.00 general admission and $10.00 for designated drivers

While it’s not exactly an Oktoberfest celebration, this is one huge beer party with several Oktoberfest brews on tap. Sure you won’t find beer from Germany, but the Festival’s remarkable 130 beer selection includes several season selections such as Karbach Brewing Karbachtoberfest, Live Oak Brewing Smoaktoberfest, Pedernales Brewing Lobo Oktoberfest, Rahr and Sons Barrel Aged Oktoberfest, Ranger Creek Brewing Septoberfest and Rogness Brewing Rogtoberfest. Leave your dogs and kids at home. Lederhosen optional.

Banger’s Oktoberfest
Saturday, September 21 – Sunday, October 6
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden
79 & 81 Rainey Street
Austin, TX
Admission Price: Free, with normal pricing for food and beverage

The second annual Banger’s Oktoberfest celebration schedule spans twelve of the sixteen days that our German friends are celebrating in Munich. The Banger’s bash has German food specials, featured local beers and games including chicken-shit bingo, a sausage eating contest, a keg roll, ladder ball and a stein race. The outdoor stage will feature lineup of live music from bands like Urban Achievers and Boxcar Preachers. Join the staff in wearing traditional Bavarian attire like dirndls and those felt hats with feathers. Proceeds from the event will benefit local charities Horse Boy Foundation and Austin Pets Alive!

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest
October 4 – 6
Marktplatz (Market Square) – 100 West Main Street
Fredericksburg, TX
Admission Price: $7.00 per person for a one day ticket and $10.00 for a two day ticket

For three days, the Hill Country hamlet of Fredericksburg converts its market square into a mini Bavarian town replete with oompah bands and food booths serving authentic German treats like sausage-on-a-stick, burgers, potato pancakes, and sauerkraut. To put you in the mood to polka all night, this Oktoberfest has more than 50 varieties German Texas and other beer flowing. The family friendly event includes a Kinderpark with activities like a hi-striker, duck pond, bungee jump, a slide and my personal favorite, Sunshine the Clown.

NXNW Oktoberfest
October 19 – 20
10010 Capital of TX Hwy N
Austin, TX
Admission Price: Free, with normal pricing for food and beverage

Now in its twelfth year, the North by Northwest brewpub’s Oktoberfest will once again roll kegs into the parking lot and bust out a German bash complete with special house-brewed Oktoberfest beer. The chef will whip up classic German food such as bratwurst, sauerkraut, red-cabbage, pretzels and Bavarian cobblers. Family-friendly entertainment such as live traditional German music, dancing, local artists, a bratwurst eating contest and a wiener dog costume contest.

Wurstfest 
November 1-10
178 Landa Park Dr
New Braunfels, TX
Admission Price: $8 at the gate and additional charges for food, beverage and carnival rides

This one may be the granddaddy of all Central Texas Oktoberfest celebrations. Billed as a “ten day salute to sausage,” Wurstfest is the only local Oktoberfest with a permanent biergarten and facilities dedicated to the annual festival. For the duration of the celebration, there are traditional Bavarian bands playing on three separate stages so there is no chance you’ll miss an opportunity to do the chicken dance. Multiple non-profit organizations and businesses sell German-inspired food from their semi-permanent store fronts and several traditional beers flow from multiple stations throughout the festival grounds. This is definitely a family-friendly event, and kids under 12 are admitted for free. There are also several carnival rides for those who haven’t hoisted too many cups of Spaten Münchner.

This story was first published on CultureMap.

Photos courtesy of the Fredericksburg Oktobergest, Banger’s and Wursftfest. 

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