Looking to ring in the autumn with beer, games and oompah music? Look no further!
The annual Oktoberfest Northwest kicks off at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup each year in early October. There is no better place in the South Sound to get a taste of German culture, enjoy a beer and a brat, or kick back and enjoy some live entertainment. There are even events for kids as well by day, but make no mistake - the evening is strictly 21+.
Bonus, Oktoberfest Northwest is held indoors so you don't have to worry about dressing for the autumn weather. Parking is free and close by too, perfect whether it's raining or if you just don't want to walk far to get to your beer.
What to expect?
Specific events and live bands vary from year to year, but you can always count on awesome beer and German food. The Biergarten (beer garden) brings out authentic German brews, plus beer steins that you can buy if you want a souvenir.
German food is possibly the best part of this Oktoberfest, though, as this is not a cuisine you find in too many restaurants in the Tacoma area. Of course, you can expect bratwursts, Polish sausage, hot dogs and other meats that often come in buns, but don't stop there. German potato salad, wienerschnitzel (thin cutlets of breaded and fried veal), spaetzle (German noodles), reuben sandwiches, red cabbage and pretzels are just some of the other menu items.
Come with an appetite.
Since Oktoberfest is all about celebration, there's always live music on stage. Often, bands are brought over from Germany to oompah through the afternoon and evening. If the spirit moves you, you can join in by dancing or schunkel with your neighbors. All seating at the event is at long, community-style tables.
To schunkel is to link arms with your neighbors and sway to the music. The more beer you drink, the more this will sound like an excellent idea.
While all the talk of beer may make you think this is not a family event, that couldn’t be less true. Families are welcome, kids and all, to the beer garden until 7 p.m. After that, guests must be at least 21. Kids activities, arts, crafts and games are also on offer, as is a root beer garden.
There are also shops with German merchandise, cookbooks and souvenirs. Expect some games, too, but best of all are the wiener dog races, which aren't on every year, but if the wieners are there, this event is worth catching.
Getting There and Parking
From South of the Fairgrounds: Take I-5 North to 512 at Exit 127. Merge onto 512 East. Go about eight miles and take the 9th St SW/94th Ave E exit. Turn left onto 9th Street SW and go about 1.4 miles. You will see the Fairgrounds and parking lots to your right shortly after you go down a hill.
From I-5 and most of Tacoma: Take I-5 Exit 135 to Puyallup. At the first stop light, veer right onto River Road. Go about 4.2 miles to 18th Street NW and take a right. You will see signs from here guiding you to the parking lots.
From North and Seattle: Take I-5 South to Exit 142B. Stay in the left lane on the exit and then turn right at the light. Turn left at the first light and get onto Highway 161. Highway 161 continues to become Meridian. Turn right at River Road. Turn left at 4th Street NW. From there, you will see signs to the parking lots.
Parking is free! Enter through the Blue or Gold Gates.
If you perhaps have a few drinks too many, there are a couple hotels nearby. The Best Western Park Plaza is about a mile away (close to the 512 exit) at 620 South Hill Park Drive. Holiday Inn Express is also in that same area at 812 South Hill Park Drive.
Like the Washington State Fair, Puyallup Spring Fair, and other events throughout the year, Oktoberfest Puyallup takes place at the Washington State Fairgrounds.
Parking is free!
Washington State Fair & Events Center
110 9th Ave SW
Puyallup, WA 98371