When it comes to celebrating German heritage, communities around the Capital Region host some of the best Oktoberfest events in the United States, with dozens to choose from in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Many communities in the area hold Oktoberfests, a local version of the famous fall festival held each year in Munich, Germany. These Oktoberfest events are family-friendly and focused on German beer, food, music, and dancing. While these aren't the only beer festivals in the D.C. area, they are some of the best.
Whether you have German ancestry or just want to take part in a different cultural experience during your vacation to the Capital Region, these Oktoberfests, Bier Fests, and special events are worth the trip.
Snallygaster D.C. is one of the city's largest beer festivals, featuring more than 300 different ales and lagers as well as multiple food vendors, live music, DJ performances, and recreational and family-friendly activities. Events take place on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest between Third and Sixth streets in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C., on October 12, 2019, from 2 to 6 p.m. The price of admission benefits the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, but drink and food tickets are sold separately.
The popular Williamsburg, Virginia, amusement park destination Busch Gardens hosts its annual Bier Fest from mid-August to early September each year. Sample a variety of beer and traditional German food while enjoying live music in this unique Bavarian celebration.
The Oktoberfest celebration features 75 beer varieties representing 10 countries, including Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States; several selections from Virginia-based craft brewers also will be on tap. Access to Bier Fest is included with park admission, and the event takes place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from August 16 to September 2, 2019.
From late September through mid-October, you can experience Oktoberfest by testing your skills in the world's oldest, noblest drinking game known as Stein Hoisting at the Biergarten House in Washington, D.C. All you have to do to win is hold a full liter of beer out at arm's length the longest, and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.
Throughout the Biergarten Haus Oktoberfest event—which takes place every Thursday night starting at 8 p.m. from September 20 to October 11, 2019—this Bavarian pub offers its regular 12 drafts and an additional 11 Oktoberfest drafts as well as authentic German food and live music performances.
Wunder Garten is a beer hall in the NoMa neighborhood of D.C. that celebrates Oktoberfest with three days of traditions, including Bavarian food and drink, music, dance, and games. Stop by any time from open to close the last Friday through Sunday of September for draft beers served in Oktoberfest Märzen-style and hail from Bavaria's oldest breweries like Spaten, Weihenstephaner, and Hofbräuhaus.
During this nightly event, you'll also enjoy a select lineup of seasonal locally-brewed beers as well as authentic German cuisine provided by Café Berlin, which includes grilled bratwurst, baeurnwurst, bretzels und obatzter, original potato salad, gurkensalat, and sauerkraut.
Lovettsville—a small community in Loudoun County, Virginia—was originally known as the German Settlement before it was established in 1836 by the Virginia General Assembly. However, it became a major destination for German settlers who left Pennsylvania during the mid-1800s, and the city's German heritage is still celebrated to this day.
To honor this heritage, the community of Lovettsville celebrates Oktoberfest with authentic German foods, crafts, and entertainment over the last Friday and Saturday in September. While there, stop by stein-hauling and hoisting competitions, keg tapping ceremonies, acoustic performances, and even two wiener dog races, and you might even run into the newly-crowned Queen of Oktoberfest roaming the streets enjoying the festivities.
A United States Army installation located in Fairfax County, Virginia, might not be where you'd expect to find a quality beer festival, but this unique destination near Mt. Vernon celebrates the German heritage of the region each fall with a four-day celebration known as Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest.
Featuring carnival rides, games, music, and dancing, Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest gives visitors a chance to experience German culture and sample authentic beers and cuisine in a family-friendly environment. This annual festival takes place from October 3 through 6, 2019. Attractions and vendors for the open-air market will be located on Fremont Field of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Frederick's Oktoberfest, presented by the Rotary Club of Frederick County and sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery, takes place at the Frederick Fairgrounds and is broken into two days of events from Friday, September 27, to Saturday 28, 2019.
The first night is a 21-and-over event featuring an opening ceremony, keg tapping, Oktoberfest games, and live music. The following day, the whole family can enjoy kids' German games and activities, a German spelling bee, a German genealogy workshop, a root beer luge, yodeling contest, strongest man and woman contest, and musical performances appropriate for all ages.
To celebrate this Bavarian festival in Baltimore, Maryland, head to Das Best Oktoberfest at the M&T Bank Stadium Lots on September 28, 2019, from 2 to 6 p.m. This massive festival is the biggest Oktoberfest event in the city and features over 150 unique German beers.
The Das Best Oktoberfest also offers German wines and schnapps, authentic cuisine, and all sorts of festival goodies. Entertainment includes Oompah bands, live musical performances, contests for kids and adults alike, and even dachshund racing. While admission is required for adults and teens, children under the age of 13 get in free.
Also the name of its limited run of seasonal brew, Port City Brewing Company's Oktoberfest is a series of celebrations that take place sporadically at this beer company's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, from early August through early October each year.
During these sporadic events, guests can enjoy live music, food trucks, games, plenty of lager, and lots more throughout the late summer and early fall seasons. Additionally, Port City Brewing company typically launches its Oktoberfest brew during the first event, but you'll have plenty of chances throughout August, September, and October to take home a growler of it—even if you just stop by the front desk during regular business hours.
The City of Gaithersburg and the Kentlands Citizens Assembly sponsor an event on October 13, 2019, to honor the German heritage of the city. Known as Octoberfest at the Kentlands, this family-friendly celebration features Bavarian music, dance, food, crafts, pony rides, moonbounces, pumpkin decorating, and face painting events spread throughout the Kentlands Village Green, the grounds of Kentlands Mansion, Main Street, and Market Square.