Break out your lederhosen or dirndl, Oktoberfest season is here.
While most Americans associate Oktoberfest with polka music and beer drinking, it's important to recognize the holiday as a 200-year-old German tradition. The first celebration occurred in 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in the fields on the edge of Munich. In addition to suds and schnitzel, the original event included horse races and an agricultural festival.
The spirit of Oktoberfest is alive and well in Dallas-Fort Worth. As Dallas Morning News reporter Hannah Wise has said, the season should fill you with gemütlichkeit, or a feeling of warmth, happiness and acceptance.
Here are seven celebrations where you'll find just that -- plus plenty of beer.
Every year thousands gather in Addison Circle Park to celebrate Oktoberfest with authentic food, music and, of course, beer. Organizers set up a massive Munich-style beer tent for the four-day event, which is one of the biggest in Dallas-Fort Worth. Activities include barrel-rolling races, Alpine dancers, and Dachshund races in addition to live performances. Expect to find German eats, such as turkey legs, bratwurst, schnitzel, strudel and German chocolate cake, as well as Paulaner beers. Admission is free the first evening, but tickets costs $10 for adults and teenagers, and $5 for kids ages 4 to 12 the nights thereafter. Children under age 3 get in free.
Addison Oktoberfest runs Thursday, Sept. 15 to Sunday, Sept. 18. Hours vary by day. More deets.
Oktoberfest at Biergarten on Lamar
The Biergarten on Lamar in downtown Dallas is planning a day of live German music and food specials to celebrate the Oktoberfest season. On Sept. 15, stop by for a German suds and fare. The first 150 people to arrive will receive a free beer stein. And beginning at 10 a.m., radio station 105.3 The Fan will begin a live broadcast onsite.
Biergarten on Lamar celebrates Oktoberfest Thursday, Sept. 15, all day. More deets.
Oktoberfest at Community Beer Co.
If this season is really all about drinking beer to you, stop by Community Beer Co. to try three of the brewery's German-style beers. Suds include a hefeweizen, a Munich-style dunkel and a helles. Tickets cost $20 plus tax and include a commemorative stein.
Community Beer Co. celebrates Oktoberfest Saturday, Sept. 17 from noon to 6 p.m. More deets.
Fort Worth Oktoberfest
Downtown Fort Worth will be hub for German festivities when its recurring Oktoberfest takes over. Following the ceremonial tapping of the keg on Thursday, Sept. 22, expect hours of polka music to pair with traditional fare, including sausages, schnitzels, crepes and potato pancakes. Beer is provided by Spaten and may encourage you to participate in one of the many activities, such as stein-hoisting or stein-carrying competitions. There's also a fun run and 5K race prior to gates opening the last day of the festival.
Fort Worth Oktoberfest runs Thursday, Sept. 22 to Saturday, Sept. 24. Hours vary by day. More deets.
Shacktoberfest at Shake Shack
This buzzy new addition to Dallas will be adding Oktoberfest inspired eats to its menu throughout the season. Expect things like the Brat Burger, a burger topped with cheddar-stuffed sausage, and the ShackMeister Brat, the same cheddar-stuffed sausage with marinated shallots and cheese sauce, plus new shakes and beers.
Shacktoberfest runs Friday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 2. Click here for location info.
Fourteen blocks in downtown McKinney will be transformed into a beer garden for the city's Oktoberfest party. Begun in 2001, the three-day event also features an artist market, live music and a carnival with games and rides. And yes, there will be plenty of suds to go around, including some from local breweries Tupps and Franconia. (The latter is operated by a German who employs Reinheitsgebot, the 500-year-old German beer purity law.) Stein-holding, bratwurst-eating and weenie-dog racing competitions round out the action. Admission is free.
McKinney Oktoberfest runs Friday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 25. Hours vary by day. More deets.
Lake Highlands Oktoberfest
Lake Highlands' annual German festival is moving locations to Flag Pole Hill this year. The single-day celebration calls for live music, including headliner Bowling for Soup, alongside local restaurant and beer vendors. Admission costs $5, which includes entry to a kid's zone if you have little ones. Patrons are welcome to bring chairs and blankets, but not pets.
Lake Highlands Oktoberfest runs Saturday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. More deets.
Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest 5K
This Fort Worth brewery annually hosts one of the most spirited 5K races of the German beer drinking season. The run (or walk depending on your preference) begins at 9 a.m. and is followed by beer swilling, stein hoisting, live polka music, food and other contests at the brewing facility. Registration for the 5K costs $40 and costumes are highly encouraged.
Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest 5K takes place Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. More deets.
Art, food and beer vendors will be stationed throughout the Southlake Town Square during its annual Oktoberfest celebration. The main attractions include live music, wiener dog races and a kid's play area. Admission is free.
Southlake Oktoberfest runs Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 9. Hours vary by day. More deets.