Top 5 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 our Top 5.
- Maifest in Chicago, IL - This event 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 food… this 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
- 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 festival you will be surrounded by all things Bavarian. This festival has something for everyone with its wide variety of German 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, check out their website: https://www.bavarianblast.com
(Photos from bavarianblast.com)
- German-American Steuben Parade New York in NYC - This event 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
- Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX - Talk about an epic German Festival… this 10 day German festival takes place around the first week in November and has free days throughout the weekdays. At the fest, you’ll find a variety of entertainment on 4 stages, food and fun on the Wurstfest Grounds in Landa Park as well as many special events throughout New Braunfels and Comal County. Get your tickets ahead of time because people start lining up early to get tickets! Some folks even camp along the riverside just to be close to the festival and listen to the bands play all day long. Early in the morning, you can hear the bouncing of the empty kegs as they get ready for the new day! It’s pretty extraordinary. To learn more about Wurstfest, check out their website: https://wurstfest.com (and if you are going to go you should also take a look at our Girls Guide to Wurstfest).
- German Fest in Milwaukee, WI - Located on the Summer Fest grounds off Lake Michigan, this weekend event 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 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]. To learn more about German Fest, check out their website https://germanfest.com
Ok, there you have it. Our top 5 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.
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As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. - Erika