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german american festival events

A Showcase of Talent: Must-See German American Festival Events for Artists

German American Festival Events

Oktoberfest in the U.S. is a lively celebration of German heritage, filled with music, dance, and, of course, beer. For artists, these festivals are a golden chance to shine in a fun, festive atmosphere.

How Oktoberfest Took Root in America

Oktoberfest, originally from Germany, started making waves in the U.S. in the late 20th century. German-American communities always loved their beer parties, but the official Oktoberfest celebrations really picked up steam after World War II.

Key Moments in U.S. Oktoberfest History:

  • 1949: The Reading Liederkranz in Pennsylvania kicked off its first Oktoberfest.
  • 1961: La Crosse, Wisconsin, joined the fun with its own Oktoberfest.
  • 1971: Cincinnati’s Germania Society started Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, now one of the biggest Oktoberfest parties in the U.S.
Year Event Location
1949 First Oktoberfest Reading Liederkranz, PA
1961 Oktoberfest La Crosse, WI
1971 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Cincinnati, OH

Top Oktoberfest Celebrations in the U.S.

These major Oktoberfest events are must-see for anyone who loves a good party. They mix traditional German music, dance, and food with a platform for local artists to show off their work.

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is a massive celebration, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It’s packed with German music, dance, food, and beer. Artists can get in on the action with art installations, live performances, and vendor booths. For more details, check German American Festival Dates.

La Crosse Oktoberfest (La Crosse, WI)

La Crosse Oktoberfest has been a Wisconsin favorite since 1961. It’s a mix of German and American fun. Artists can join parades, art shows, and live performances. This festival is all about community and creativity, making it a great spot for artists to connect with a diverse crowd. For location specifics, see German American Festival Location.

Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest (Reading, PA)

The Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest is one of the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1949. It’s all about authentic German culture, with traditional music, dance, and food. Artists can engage with the crowd through art shows, craft booths, and workshops. It’s a fantastic way to dive into German culture and share your talents. Tickets and more info can be found at German American Festival Tickets.

These are just a few of the many German American Festival events happening across the U.S. Each one offers a unique mix of cultural traditions and artistic opportunities.

Oktoberfest Beers

Oktoberfest is all about enjoying a wide range of beers that have become a must-have at German-American festivals. Knowing the differences between American and German Oktoberfest beers can make your festival experience even better.

Beer Styles: What’s the Difference?

Oktoberfest beers, called märzens, started getting popular in the U.S. around the 1960s. These beers, brewed in March and aged until fall, are known for their slightly sweet, reddish color. On the other hand, the beers served at Munich’s Oktoberfest are paler and more like German lagers such as Dortmunder.

Beer Style Origin Color Flavor Profile Alcohol Content
Märzen American Red-hued Slightly sweet, full-flavored Lower
German Lager German Pale golden Crisp, clean Higher

American brewers often use Munich and Caramel malts for a sweet, full flavor, while German brewers aim for a higher gravity brew, resulting in a higher alcohol content and a golden hue (Food & Wine).

American vs. German Oktoberfest Beers

The difference in beer styles is clear when comparing American and German Oktoberfest beers. American Oktoberfest beers are usually amber brews, influenced by the craft beer movement of the 1980s. These beers are known for their rich malt flavor and slight sweetness that many festival-goers love (Wine Enthusiast).

Aspect American Oktoberfest Beers German Oktoberfest Beers
Color Red-hued/Amber Pale golden
Malt Munich and Caramel malts Traditional German malts
Flavor Sweet, full-flavored Crisp, clean
Alcohol Content Lower Higher

Interestingly, some American brewers make beers that are closer to the modern German style, known as German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesn, while some German breweries export American-style Oktoberfest beers to the U.S. to cater to American tastes.

For more info on German American Festival events or to get German American Festival tickets, check out our detailed guides. Knowing these differences can help festival-goers appreciate the variety of Oktoberfest beers available at these celebrations.

Notable German-American Festivals

German-American festivals are a lively celebration of heritage, culture, and tradition. From parades to mouth-watering food, these festivals offer a rich mix of experiences for everyone.

German Festivals Across the U.S.

Across the United States, German festivals bring communities together to celebrate their shared heritage. Here are some notable ones:

German Fest Milwaukee

Held in Milwaukee, WI, German Fest Milwaukee is one of the biggest German festivals in the U.S., drawing over 25,000 people each year. The festival features polka music, traditional dances, German brews, bratwursts, sauerkraut, and fun activities like stein-holding contests, live performances, and a children’s area.

Event Location Attendance
German Fest Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI 25,000+

German-American Steuben Parade

The German-American Steuben Parade in New York City, started in 1957, is a three-hour parade packed with German groups in traditional outfits, floats, marching bands, dancers, and organizations from the U.S., Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada. This parade happens every year on the third Saturday in September.

Event Location Date
German-American Steuben Parade New York City, NY Third Saturday in September

Tomball German Fest

In Tomball, TX, the Tomball German Fest offers a lively atmosphere with three stages of live music, an open-air market, antique shops, carnival rides, games, and cultural exhibits. This festival is one of the largest and celebrates German heritage, attracting visitors of all ages.

Event Location Features
Tomball German Fest Tomball, TX Live Music, Market, Rides

Unique Festivals Celebrating German Heritage

Several unique festivals across the country stand out for their distinct celebrations of German culture:

German-American Festival

The German-American Festival in Oregon, OH is one of the oldest and largest German festivals in the United States. It showcases German traditions, music, authentic food, and camaraderie. Attendees can indulge in German cuisine, enjoy traditional music and dances, and engage in activities like beer tasting, contests, parades, and games suitable for all ages.

Event Location Activities
German-American Festival Oregon, OH Food, Music, Beer Tasting


Wurstfest in New Braunfels, TX is an annual sausage festival that began in 1961 and has grown immensely in popularity. With over 200,000 visitors attending the festival in 2022, it is one of the top festivals in the country. Wurstfest offers a rich cultural and culinary experience, making it a must-visit for German culture enthusiasts.

Event Location Attendance
Wurstfest New Braunfels, TX 200,000+

These German-American festivals provide a fantastic opportunity for artists to showcase their talents and for attendees to dive into the rich traditions of German culture. For more information on festival dates, locations, and tickets, visit our pages on German American Festival Dates, German American Festival Locations, and German American Festival Tickets.

Celebrating German Culture

German American festivals are a lively mix of heritage, culture, and mouth-watering food. These events are a perfect chance to dive into the rich traditions of German cuisine.

German Food Festivals

German food festivals are the heart of many German American celebrations. They offer a smorgasbord of traditional dishes, street foods, and regional specialties that give you a real taste of Germany. But it’s not just about the food—these festivals are a full-on celebration of German culture, complete with live music, folk dances, and arts and crafts.

Festival Name Location Key Highlights
Oktoberfest Various Beers, sausages, pretzels
Wurstfest New Braunfels, TX German sausage, live music
Christkindlmarkt Multiple cities Holiday treats, crafts
Germanfest Muenster, TX Authentic German food, polka bands

Want to join the fun? Check out our guide on German American festival dates and tickets.

Traditional German Dishes to Enjoy

The food at these festivals is as varied as the regions they come from. Here are some must-try German dishes:

  • Maultaschen: These big, doughy pockets from Swabia are stuffed with all sorts of goodies, from savory to sweet. They’re a regional gem in Baden-Württemberg (Fox 59).
  • Labskaus: This northern German dish is a mash-up of salted beef, onions, potatoes, and pickled beetroot. Served with pickled gherkins and rollmops, it’s a nod to the seafaring traditions of places like Bremen and Hamburg.
  • Currywurst: A Berlin favorite, this street food is grilled sausage topped with a mix of ketchup and curry powder. It’s a festival staple, with around 800 million eaten every year in Germany.
  • Döner Kebab: Brought over by Turkish immigrants in the ’60s and ’70s, Döner kebab is now a German classic. Packed with salad, veggies, and sauces, it’s sold in over 16,000 spots across Germany, raking in €3.5 billion annually (Fox 59).
Dish Name Origin Key Ingredients
Maultaschen Swabia Dough, various fillings
Labskaus Northern Germany Salted beef, onions, potatoes, beetroot
Currywurst Berlin Sausage, ketchup, curry powder
Döner Kebab Turkish-German Salad, vegetables, sauces

These dishes are just a taste of what you can find at German American festivals. For more info on where to find these events, visit our page on festival locations.