8 German Festivals in the US That Aren’t Oktoberfest
We all know that Oktoberfest is hands down the most popular Bavarian festival both here and in Germany. But did you know that there are lots of other German events and festivals throughout the US that are NOT Oktoberfest?
Here are 8 of the largest German festivals that we think you outta know about.
German Fest Milwaukee in Milwaukee, WI
German Fest Milwaukee is an annual celebration that brings a taste of German culture to the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It's a Milwaukee tradition that's held over several days, this vibrant festival showcases the rich traditions, music, authentic food, and heritage of Germany. This is one of the largest German festivals and a beloved Milwaukee tradition. Visitors can immerse themselves in an atmosphere filled with polka music, traditional dances, and plenty of dirndls!
Located on the Summer Fest grounds off Lake Michigan, this festival is a Milwaukee tradition held annually and the festival grounds feature various attractions, including beer gardens serving German brews, delicious bratwursts, sauerkraut, and other mouthwatering delicacies. Attendees can participate in activities like stein-holding contests, learn about German history and folklore, and enjoy live performances by talented musicians and dancers.
German Fest takes place every year on the last full weekend in July and with attendance in the 25,000+ range, you know it’s a good fest. German Fest has multiple stages featuring over 10+ bands every year as well as a fashion show, Mardi Gras show, parade, LIVE Glockenspiel, children’s area, Dachshund races, and much more!
And the food… lemme tell ya about the food. You’ve got your major players like Mader’s restaurant, they also have authentic food being made and served by the local German clubs and you better bet those Oma’s know how to cook!
The fireworks show over the lake on Friday and Saturday nights are the icing on the Kuchen and (because we’re a little biased…) Rare Dirndl also has a booth in the Marktplatz, so that’s another bonus [wink wink]. German Fest Milwaukee offers an exciting opportunity to experience the hospitality and cultural richness of Germany right in the heart of the Midwest. Check out their website to learn more about this Milwaukee tradition. German Fest Milwaukee https://germanfest.com
Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX
German-American Steuben Parade New York in NYC
This festival is definitely one to check out! From their website: “The German-American Steuben Parade is held annually on the third Saturday in September. It was founded in 1957 by German immigrants and German-Americans to keep the traditions of their homeland alive.
Today, the Parade continues to march up Fifth Avenue to 86th Street. The three-hour Parade is filled with German groups wearing their traditional costumes, spectacular floats, marching bands, dancers, clubs, and organizations from across the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. Miss German-America and her court are crowned every May, leading the Parade down Fifth Avenue after serving as young cultural ambassadors to events throughout the year across the Tri-State Area.”
This event gets a lot of attention and the celebrations continue all over the city at different German bars and restaurants. To learn more about the German-American Steuben Parade, check out their website: http://germanparadenyc.org
Bavarian Blast in New Ulm, MN
Bavarian Blast is an event to celebrate Bavarian heritage and culture. From the moment you arrive at this weekend-long event, you will be surrounded by all things Bavarian.
This festival has something for everyone with its wide variety of authentic food, German-American music, Schell’s Beer, uniquely German contests, and the famous Bavarian Blast Parade. It’s also super family friendly with activities for the kiddos and plenty of space for tanzen. This event is typically the 3rd weekend in July. To learn more about this event check out their website: https://www.bavarianblast.com
Maifest in Chicago, IL
This German fest is small but mighty (it’s been going on for over 20 years!). It’s one of the first street festivals in the city that kicks off the summer street fest season and it’s very well attended.
With authentic German bands playing all weekend, 2 stages of music, performances from local German organizations and of course plenty of German beer, wine and authentic food… this German fest is always a fun time. It always takes place the weekend after Memorial Day and to learn more check out their website: http://www.mayfestchicago.com
Tomball German Fest in Tomball, TX
The Tomball German Fest is a real fun one because it brings the vibrant spirit of Germany to the heart of Tomball, Texas not once, but twice a year! This is one of the largest German festivals and it's a highly anticipated and unique music/street festival with three stages of live music and an open-air market along with antique shops in the old town area. Full of rich traditions, music, authentic food, and culture of Germany in a lively and festive atmosphere, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions, including live music performances, carnival rides, games, and cultural exhibits. The Tomball German Fest is a beloved community event that offers a delightful opportunity to celebrate German heritage, foster a sense of togetherness, and create cherished memories for attendees of all ages.
The German-American Festival in Oregon, OH
The German-American Festival in Oregon, Ohio, hosts an eagerly anticipated annual event that celebrates the vibrant heritage and cultural contributions of German immigrants. This festival, recognized as one of the oldest and largest German festivals in the United States, actively showcases German traditions, music, authentic food, and camaraderie. Festival-goers actively engage in an immersive experience, indulging in mouthwatering German cuisine, from savoring bratwurst and sauerkraut to relishing schnitzel and strudel.
The air actively fills with lively sounds of traditional German music, polka dancing, and joyful laughter. Cultural displays and exhibits actively provide insights into German history, folklore, and craftsmanship. Visitors actively enjoy a range of activities, including beer tasting, participating in contests, watching parades, and engaging in games suitable for all ages. The German-American Festival in Oregon, Ohio, actively fosters strong connections between German heritage and the local community, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Maifest in Leavenworth, WA
Maifest in Leavenworth, Washington, is a cherished springtime celebration that transports visitors to a picturesque Bavarian village nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountains. This enchanting festival that takes place throughout the month of May, captures the essence of German tradition and welcomes the arrival of spring with open arms. The town bursts with vibrant colors as locals and tourists don traditional Bavarian attire, adorned with colorful ribbons and intricate embroidery. Streets are lined with charming wooden stalls offering a wide array of German delicacies, including bratwurst, pretzels, and mouthwatering pastries.
The sounds of lively folk music fill the air as people gather in the open-air platz, swaying and dancing to traditional tunes. This festival is a true feast for the senses, with the aroma of fragrant flowers mingling with the taste of crisp German beers. Visitors can join in the cheerful procession, marvel at intricate Maypole dances, and revel in the joyous atmosphere that symbolizes the awakening of nature and the spirit of community. Maifest in Leavenworth is a magical experience that captures the warmth, beauty, and cultural richness of Bavaria, creating lasting memories for all who embrace its charm.
Ok, there you have it. 8 of the largest German festivals that are NOT Oktoberfest! And YES, these are all dirndl-wearing events! You will not look out of place wearing your dirndl to any of these festivals.
Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take our quiz and find out now!