So, like, 200 years ago some guy married the princess of Saxony-Hildburghausen in what is now Germany and there was a party, and they just kept having the party every year, and now Oktoberfest happens all over the world. Seattle is a fair distance from Saxony-Hildburghausen, and the way Oktoberfest is celebrated in the U.S. doesn’t line up precisely with the German Oktoberfest traditions (American Oktoberfest beer tends to be maltier and darker, for one thing), but it’s still a chance to celebrate German culture, beer, and the arrival of fall. Or one last excuse to drink outdoors when the weather is nice-ish.
Here are some of the most prominent Oktoberfest events in the Seattle area:
The biggest outdoor beer fest in Seattle proper, this 21-plus waterside event has a little bit of that Fremont funkiness added to the traditional German Okt flavor. So in addition to the usual beers and ciders, there will be a pumpkin-carving event where the carvers use chainsaws, a stein hoisting contest, a DJ tower, and a lot of dogs for “dogtoberfest.” Tickets range from $15 to $45 per day depending on how many drink tokens you want, and the event runs from Friday, September 22, to Sunday, September 24. More info here.
Ever heard of a Bavarian handshake? That’s when you pass your hand through the crotch flap of your lederhosen to shake someone else’s hand as they pass it through their crotch flap. At the Kirkland Oktoberfest, it’s apparently a tradition to chain these BHs together to set a world record, an activity that probably makes more sense when you’ve had a couple biers in you. This 21-plus event runs from the 22nd to the 24th and features more than just the handshake, it also has wiener dog races and an entertainment slate headlined by Manuela Horn, a.k.a. the Austrian Amazon. Ticket prices range from $15 to $75 and in some cases are cheaper to purchase before this weekend. More info here.
For a more all-ages inclusive scene, check out Oktoberfest Northwest, which runs from October 6 to October 8 at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. Early bird tickets are all under $20 (check them out here), and kids aged 12 and under get in free and can participate in activities like the half-mile root beer run and pumpkin carving (not with chainsaws). Manuela Horn will also be among the entertainment options here — it’s a busy time of year for her —and there will be a ““tapping of the firkin” ceremony on Friday note. Note that after 6 p.m., it’s adults only; kids don’t get to see the firkin get tapped. More info here.
Oktoberfest at Ounces
Don’t want to drive down south? Go west, young people, and hit up West Seattle beer garden Ounces on October 6 to October 8 for a free weekend of food and locally brewed Oktoberfest-style beer. Food options include sausages from Grey Coast Dogs and Doughnuts from Dough Joy, who apparently have a special Oktoberfest doughnut. There’s gonna be oompah bands, a costume contest, and of course, a stein-raising competition. More info here.