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 trip to the Capital Region, be sure to check out these fun Oktoberfests, Bier Fests, and special events happening September through October in 2018.
On October 13, 2018, this beer festival will feature 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 Ave NW between 3rd and 6th Streets in the heart of downtown Washington, D.C. The price of admission will benefit the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, but drink and food tickets will be sold separately.
The popular Williamsburg, Virginia, amusement park destination Busch Gardens welcomes back its annual Bier Fest from August 15 to September 3, 2018. You can 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.
Thursdays from September 21 through October 12, 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. This Bavarian pub offers their regular 12 drafts and 11 additional Oktoberfest drafts, food, and live music performances every for four consecutive Thursdays.
The beer hall in the NoMa neighborhood of D.C. features a week of Oktoberfest events including Bavarian food and drink, music, dance, and games. Draft beers are served in Oktoberfest Märzen-style hail from Bavaria's oldest breweries like Spaten, Weihenstephaner, and Hofbräuhaus, and are accompanied by a select lineup of seasonal locally brewed beers. Café Berlin will provide authentic German fare, including grilled bratwurst, bauernwurst, bretzels und obatzter, original potato salad, gurkensalat, and sauerkraut.
Lovettsville was originally known as "The German Settlement" before it was established in 1836 by the Virginia General Assembly but went on to be a major destination for German settlers who moved from Pennsylvania. In celebration of the town's German heritage, the community in Loudoun County, Virginia, celebrates Oktoberfest with food, crafts, and entertainment on September 29, 2018. Each year, a Queen of Oktoberfest is crowned who will be roaming the streets enjoying the festivities.
The 22nd Fort Belvoir Oktober Fest will take place over the last weekend in September in 2018. This four-day festival includes carnival rides, games, music, and dancing and gives guests a chance to sample authentic German beers and cuisine. Attractions and vendors for the open-air market will be located on Fremont Field of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The Frederick's Octoberfest, 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, Friday and Saturday, September 28 and 29, 2018.
Friday night is a 21-and-over event featuring an opening ceremony, keg tapping, The Inaugural Oktoberfest Games, and a performance by The Reagan Years. All day Saturday, 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.
Das Best Oktoberfest will take place on October 13, 2018, at the M&T Bank Stadium Lots in Baltimore, Maryland. The festival will include over 150 unique beers, German wines and schnapps, German foods and other festival goodies, Oompah bands, live music, and contests for kids and adults alike. Admission ranges from $40 up, but children under the age of 13 get in free.
Now known as "Flavors of Fall," Oktoberfest at the Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia, is a staple of the region. Here, you can sample the best in fall brews and traditional Oktoberfest fare provided by some of Reston's finest eateries while enjoying live entertainment. Admission is free and the event will take place nightly from October 5 through 7, 2018.
You can enjoy live music, food trucks, games, plenty of lager, and lots more at the annual Port City Brewing Company's Oktoberfest celebrations, which start on August 3, 2018, and take place sporadically through early October. Port City Brewing Company also released a limited run of its Oktoberfest brew in honor of this classic German festival, so don't miss your chance to take home a growler of it.
The Kentlands Village Green in Gaithersburg, Maryland, will host a family-friendly Oktoberfest featuring Bavarian music, dance, food, crafts, pony rides, moonbounces, pumpkin decorating, and face painting. The City of Gaithersburg and the Kentlands Citizens Assembly sponsor this annual event.
Washington D.C.'s official kickoff to the German holiday took place on September 16, 2017, from 12 to 9 p.m. in D.C.'s Chinatown. You can explore local bars including RFD, Penn Social, Jackpot, Iron Horse, Fado, Rocket Bar, and Austin Grill for beer specials and entertainment. Admission to the day's festivities is $45 to $80, and a portion of the proceeds will go to local charities.
This D.C. museum will celebrate Brewmaster Christian Heurich’s German heritage with local beer, German-style soft pretzels, fresh grilled German sausages, sauerkraut, and pickles. On the last weekend of September, you can dance the afternoon away with traditional Oktoberfest music or tour the historic Heurich House with the price of admission.