8 great Oktoberfests to visit right here in New Jersey
While it's true that this IS Oktoberfest season, (being almost Oktober, after all) who knew there were so many Oktoberfest-fests in the Garden State? Where are we, Germany?
We've got more Oktoberfests here in NJ than we do Polish, Italian or just plain old Fall festivals!
The REAL Oktoberfest is the world's largest beer festival and it's held annually in Munich, Bavaria. Over there, it's a 16 to 18 day affair, running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year.
So why are we so obsessed with it here in New Jersey? We don't have a disproportionately large German population. Could it be that we just love beer? Ah, yes. I think I've hit the nail right smack on the (foamy) head!
If I didn't tell you this here, would you have ever known that there are no less than 8, yes EIGHT different Oktoberfests right here in Jersey all within the next few weeks? (Some should really be called "Septemberfests", but I digress).
So snap on your lederhosen, pack up your beer stein, and get ready for the most fun this side of the Rhine!
- Where: American Legion Hall, 399 Broad Avenue, Leonia, NJ
- When: September 23, 2017, from 4:00 PM until 11:00 PM
- Details: This family-friendly Oktoberfest has something for beer-drinkers and kids alike. Enjoy traditional entertainment and biergarten. Enjoy traditional brats, pretzels, and schnitzel. This event is rain or shine!
- Cost: $5 per adult, kids are free
- Where: Chubb Park, Route 24 West, Chester, NJ
- When: September 23-24, 2017, from 12:00 PM until 08:00 PM
- Details: The Chester Lions Club Oktoberfest is a family event with Live music, entertainers, bounce houses, games, and pony rides. Keeping with tradition, Oktoberfest will feature traditional music, native dress and special Oktoberfest beer (only available for a short time.) Authentic German foods including German potato salad, sauerkraut and smoked pork chops will be offered along with apple strudel, beehive cake, plum cake, and more. The weekend long event features The (Die) Spitzbaum, a notable German Band performing familiar German tunes along with dancers. All proceeds go to charity.
- Cost: Children under 12 are free. $6 for adults.
- Where: 215 Uncle Pete's Road, Trenton, NJ
- When: September 24, 2017, from 12:00 PM until 7:00 PM
- Details: Mercer County’s Largest German Event! Traditional Beer Festival featuring German beer, food & music as well as a pig roast, vendors, family fun, kid activities, crafts, games, and more! Music and entertainment by the Austrian Boys with traditional Schuhplattler dancing by the G.T.V. Almrausch.
- Costs: $5 per person at the gate, kids 12 & under are free, free admission to any individual wearing full traditional German attire. (Part of the proceeds will help benefit local charity The Jeremy Fund.)
- Where: Our Lady of the Lake School, 26 Lakeside Ave, Verona, NJ
- When: September 30, 2017
- Details: An adult-only event, this memorable night will feature live entertainment, an all-you-can-eat German buffet, wine and beer, and so much more. Wunderbar!
- Where: Veterans Park, 23 Bay Ave, Highlands, NJ
- When: October 7, 2017, from 2:00 PM until 9:00 PM
- Details: Authentic German and Bavarian culture will be on display at this festival in Highlands. Try traditional bratwurst, potato pancakes and other tasty dishes, spend some time at the face painting booth and bouncy house, explore the craft and vendor tables and watch live musicians and polka dancers perform. Fun even if you're not 21!!
- Costs: Free
- Where: Historic Smithville & Village Greene, 615 E. Moss Mill Rd, Smithville, NJ
- When: October 7-8, 2017, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM
- Details: Oktoberfest has over 100 juried crafters, an international food court, music, kids activities, non-profit organizations and more... All of this is on top of the over 60 shops, lodging at the Colonial Inn, carousel ride, train ride, paddle boats, 7 eateries, and antique arcades that are already located at the Village year round!
- Costs: Free
- Where: Demarest Nature Center, The Duck Pond, 38 Park St., Demarest, NJ
- When: October 14, 2017, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM
- Details: Come hungry! Demarest's Oktoberfest is full of German food and Korean delicacies. inflatable games and canoe rides. visit the Demarest Nature Center and enjoy a craft show
- Cost: Varies; all proceeds go to Demarest Nature Center.
- Where: Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Ave, West Orange, NJ
- When: Oct 14, 2017, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM
- Details: The Turtle Back Zoo will host Ales ‘N Tails, benefitting the Essex County Parks Foundation. Enjoy the live Oompah Band and sample dozens and dozens of seasonal brews from around the world. In addition to traditional music and beers, there will be local craft and food vendors on site. Support your local parks while taking part in an evening out in the Zoo! (Only guests ages 21 and over will be permitted. All guests must have a valid ID and possess a ticket.) Rain or shine.
- Costs: $60 per person, $15 per designated driver
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