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Best Places To Celebrate Oktoberfest 2012 In Minnesota

The original Oktoberfest, celebrated in Munich, Germany, attracts millions of attendees each year. Unfortunately for most, attending the annual 16-day German festival is out of the question. Luckily, Oktoberfest celebrations are not uncommon in Minnesota, especially since there are many inhabitants of German heritage. With German entertainment including live music, dancing and traditional games like hammerschlagen, authentic German food and brews, cultural displays and arts and crafts, local Oktoberfest celebrations offer attendees a chance to enjoy German culture in a fun, unique way. If attending an Oktoberfest event is on your fall to-do list, check out these popular celebrations being held right here in Minnesota.
9.30.11 - Family Fun Guide to New Ulm - HermannGerman.jpeg
Photo Credit: City of New Ulm

New Ulm Oktoberfest
New Ulm Holiday Inn
2101 S. Broadway
New Ulm, MN 56073
(507) 359-2941

Dates: October 5-6 and 12-13, 2012

Now in its 31st year, the annual New Ulm Oktoberfest features a two-weekend celebration of all things German. Dubbed the "City of Festivals," New Ulm really knows how to pay homage to German culture. What this quaint festival lacks in size, it more than makes up for in German pride, delighting attendees with live polka music, horse-drawn trolley rides, authentic German food and plenty of locally brewed August Schell's beer. If you're planning on attending from out of town, snag a room at the Holiday Inn to be just steps away from New Ulm's Oktoberfest festivities. Oktoberfest events also occur in downtown New Ulm. Don't forget to grab yourself a souvenir at a local specialty shop (like some decadent "gnome-made fudge") while you're there. For a full listing of events, check out the New Ulm Oktoberfest schedule.

Oktoberfest at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge
Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge
25039 Tame Fish Lake Road
Deerwood, MN 56444
(218) 678-2885

Dates: October 19-21, 2012

Looking for a family-friendly version of Oktoberfest? If so, you might want to consider taking the family out to Oktoberfest at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge in Deerwood, Minnesota. Ruttger's prides itself on being the oldest family-operated lake resort in Minnesota and was founded by German immigrants in 1898. For 27 years now, Ruttger's has held an annual Oktoberfest celebration. Highlights of the festival include buffet-style German dinners, an arts and crafts fair, a pedal tractor pull for children, hammerschlagen and several live musical acts. If you want to be right in the center of it all, book a room at Ruttger's. If there's no more availability, don't fret. Ruttger's Oktoberfest is open to the general public. For a full listing of events, check out the Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge Oktoberfest schedule.

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Smoked Brats
(credit: CBS)

Oktoberfest Lunch Cruise
Harriet Island
St Paul, MN 55107
(651) 227-1100

Dates: October 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2012

Why not celebrate Oktoberfest on a boat? Each Saturday in October, Padelford Riverboats is offering its own version of Oktoberfest in the form of a leisurely boat ride on the Mississippi River. Boarding at 10:30 am, the boat departs from Harriet Island and cruises from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. through Lock and Dam #1 into Minneapolis and back. Passengers aboard are treated to a German lunch of "brats and kraut with Bavarian buns, sauerbraten, German potato salad, spaetzle with paprika sauce, vinegar and oil coleslaw, Black Forest torte cake and coffee." Play a rousing game of hammerschlagen with "Helga the Hamburg Wench," enjoy live polka music and admire the beauty of the Mississippi River in fall. The cruise costs $41 and advanced, prepaid reservations are required.

Twin Cities Oktoberfest
Minnesota State Fairgrounds
1265 Snelling Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55108
(651) 288-4400

Dates: October 5-6, 2012

For two fun-filled days, the Twin Cities Oktoberfest plans on honoring all things German out at the State Fairgrounds. For a $25 fee (children under 12 get in free), admission includes a 24-ounce ceramic mug and a voucher to fill it with your choice of beer or soda. Do you have a beer stein of your own that you'd like to use while there? Bring it with and enjoy a tasty Summit brew. Pedroncelli wine will also be served for all those non-beer drinkers. Check out tons of live music, snack on traditional Oktoberfest foods like brats and sauerkraut and watch traditional German dance performances.

12th Annual St. Paul Oktoberfest
Klub Haus
1070 Rice St.
St. Paul, MN 55117
(651) 253-5261

Dates: October 12-13, 2012

Now in its 12th year, the annual Saint Paul Oktoberfest is a much-loved event for many Twin Cities residents. Like many other local Oktoberfest celebrations, Saint Paul's features authentic German food and drink, live music and dancing. However, events like the ever-popular dachshund races set this Oktoberfest apart from the rest. Canons will be shot, costumed revelers will amuse attendees and a "re-enactment of the 1810 wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxon-Hildburghausen" can be enjoyed by all. A $3 fee for those 21 and over buys a wristband good for both days of festivities (under 21 get in free). Head out to Klub Haus the evening of the 12th for "Happy Hour" and return the next day for "Fest Day" to enjoy all of the fun, unique festivities. For a full list of events, check out the Saint Paul Oktoberfest schedule.

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A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at

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