Drink up at Oktoberfest celebrations in Lancaster
Oktoberfest is a traditional fall festival that originated in Germany and focuses on, among other things, beer. Since Lancaster County boasts several craft breweries, it's no wonder that Oktoberfest is very popular this time of year.
In addition to Oktoberfest celebrations held around the county, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire hosts an Oktoberfest-themed weekend at the Mount Hope Estate & Winery. Candace Smith, the director of sales and communications, says, "It's actually one of our most popular themed weekends."
For more than ten years, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire has incorporated an Oktoberfest celebration during one fall weekend. For the same price as a regular Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire ticket, patrons can enjoy special events, while drinking beer from the 32 oz. Das Boot.
One of the special events is the Bar Olympics, in which players compete for the right to name one of next year's bars, as well as having bragging rights. The Bar Olympics begin with the Bar Triathlon, when contestants play traditional pub games. The top ten players then move on to the Ode to Ale, in which they're asked to give an impromptu toast, complete with wit and humor, to the rowdy crowd. The top five contestants then progress to the final round, the Bar Keep Contest, which is a favorite event every year. The Bar Keep Contest requires players to tend bar, while keeping their raucous and raunchy customers happy. "I've worked here for many years," Smith says, "and that is one of the funniest things that happens."
Children are invited to play an Oktoberfest game called Topfschlagen, which translates to "hit the kettle." Kids are blindfolded and given wooden spoons. Then they start banging the ground, looking for the kettle. Once they find the kettle, they grab their prize out from under it. Patrons yell "topfschlagen!" to cheer on the pint-sized players.
The Alpenlaenders will provide German-style music, including blowing their Alpine horns. (Think "Ricola!") Plenty of German food will be served up, alongside a special Oktoberfest Märzen from Swashbuckler Brewing Co.
Oktoberfest at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 1 and 2 in Manheim. Visit parenfaire.com for tickets and more information.
Here's a rundown of other Oktoberfest celebrations in the Lancaster area.
The Lancaster Liederkranz is a group that promotes German culture through music, song, dance, art and language. While the club requires membership, their Oktoberfest is open to the public. Several groups will perform live, while bratwurst, weisswurst, potato pancakes and more are served up. A variety of beers will be available, including domestic and German beers.
The Lancaster Liederkranz Oktoberfest is Sept. 16, 17 and 18 in Manheim. Visit the Lancaster Liederkranz website for more information.
Spring House Brewing
The Spring House Brewing Oktoberfest celebration kicks off Sept. 24 and continues through Oct. 1 at the Hazel Street location. If you bring your own stein, you can get it filled for $5. Wear lederhosen or dirndl to receive a free pint. Spring House will have live music and a pig roast.
Visit springhousebeer.com for more details.
Lancaster Brewing Co.
"Men's Journal" picked Lancaster Brewing Co. as one of the ten best Oktoberfest celebrations in America. Their Oktoberfest beer and their Baked Pumpkin Pie Ale are on draft, and plenty of German food is available from the menu.
Oktoberfest at Lancaster Brewing Co. lasts all day on the weekends, beginning Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 16 at their Lancaster location. Visit lancasterbrewing.com for more information.
Strasburg Rail Road
Talk about a moveable feast! The Strasburg Rail Road celebrates Oktoberfest aboard their steam engine. Enjoy traditional German recipes, like pork, sauerkraut and apple dumplings, as well as locally crafted beers, during the train ride.
The Strasburg Rail Road Oktoberfest is Oct. 1, 8 and 29 in Strasburg. Visit strasburgrailroad.com for ticket information.
What better place to celebrate Oktoberfest than Stoudts, a restaurant that would not look out of place in the Bavarian Alps. The family-friendly festival features music by Bavarski, as well as authentic German food and a pig roast. Of course, Stoudts will be serving their craft beers, like their Karnival Kölsch and Oktober Fest Märzen.
Stoudts, located in Adamstown, begins celebrating Oktoberfest on Sept. 25. Visit stoudts.com for dates and times.
Biergartenfest at Wacker Brewing is another Oktoberfest in downtown Lancaster. In addition to German beer, food and entertainment, ticket holders will receive a souvenir glass.
Wacker Brewing's Oktoberfest is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 in Excelsior Hall. Visit wackerbrewing.com for details and ticket information.