For some old fashioned German Oktoberfest cheer – and a little gemütlichkeit (good times in a social setting) – the American-German Club of the Palm Beaches will be setting up the bier gartens under the tents for its forty-second annual Oktoberfest party on October 9-11 and 16-18. The most authentic Bavarian party in Palm Beach County, and one of the country’s largest, the American-German Club’s shindig pulls all the München stops with authentic Bavarian fare (sauerbraten, schnitzel, goulash, leberkäse, thüringer bratwurst, and potato pancakes anyone?), and true Oktoberfest märzen, imported directly from Munich.
As an ode to the massive Munich tent, the Hofbräu Biergarten will serve a full lineup of München suds—Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, Hofbräu Dunkel, Hofbräu Original, and Münchner Weisse—poured into either a boot or liter stein. As for live entertainment, bands are coming directly from Germany to represent Bavaria (Heldensteiner Band and the Bavarian Tops will bring all those Polka favorites), while traditional dance groups will embody the true spirit of the festival. For those uninhibited few, there will also be dancing lessons imparting the traditional Schuhplattler folk dance to join in fun.
Part of the charm of this annual festival is its adherence to tradition. And no Oktoberfest is complete with a parade of flags and the ceremonial tapping of the keg. Join the master of ceremonies—wooden mallet in hand—as the flags are presented, followed by a barrel of brew receiving a few knocks from the hammer. This is a must for first-time Oktoberfest revelers; luckily there are plenty of opportunities to catch the ceremony: Saturday, October 10 and 17 at 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, October 11 and 18 at 4 p.m.
If you’re feeling strong, fill a stein and join the line for the masskrugstemmen competition. Made famous in Beerfest, the stein-holding competition may seem easy (holding a mug of beer, how hard is that?), but trust me, at just a tick over five pounds, those muscles will start to burn more quickly than thought. Think you have what it takes? Join the spectacle at the pavilion on Saturdays at 9 p.m., but trust me, that liquid weight can be deceiving.
As always, the American-German Club’s party is all about family, with plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. Behind the pavilion, a host of carnival rides will whirl and swing kids of all ages (adults: please refrain from the overly “spinny” rides if you have had one to many), while games will test the skills—and nerves—of children and adults alike. A $20 wrist band will give kids unlimited rides at the festival.
- Admission costs $8 (get a $2 off coupon here—PDF). Admission packages are also available, starting at $13 all the way to $100. Pre-sale tickets with discounted rates are available through October 8 at americangermanclub.org/oktoberfest/tickets.
- The 42nd annual American-German Club of the Palm Beaches’ Oktoberfest celebration will run October 16-18. Gates open from 5-11 p.m. on Fridays, 12-11 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12-8 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit americangermanclub.org/Oktoberfest.