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Best Places To Celebrate Oktoberfest In The Bay Area

(credit: Philipp Guelland/Getty Images)

It's time to rummage through the closet for the lederhosen and dirndl skirts. Plan ahead if you care to spend three weeks celebrating Oktoberfest. The seasonal fall harvest celebration begins in mid-September when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel of new Oktober beer on September 20, 2014. Müncheners wrap it all up nearly seven million liters later on October 5, while Americans carry right on partying through the third weekend in October.

Schroeder's in San Francisco, since 1893 (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

240 Front St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 421-4778

Schroeder's has been pouring for Oktoberfest toasts punctuated by a convivial "prost" since 1893. This year's no different. Get your Oktoberfest off to an early start on Sept. 19 and continue for three weekends. In addition to the new Oktoberfest beers, Schroeder's beer manager is suggesting several other great German fall beers to try this season, including Maisel's Weisse, Gordon Biersch Märzen, Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel and Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel. Have you ever drunk a liter from a traditional beer boot?

Oktoberfest by the Bay
Pier 48
San Francisco, CA 94158
Date: Sept. 19-21, 2014

If you own any lederhosen or dirndls, this is the occasion to wear traditional Bavarian clothing for the oompah Bavarian band and dancing. The fun-packed celebration begins Friday, Sept. 19 at 5 p.m. and carries on until midnight. It begins again on Saturday at 11 a.m. and continues in sessions through the weekend, each priced at $25, VIP tickets at $75 and discounts are available online. The popular event is produced by American Showplace Productions in association with the United German-American Societies of San Francisco and Vicinity. Inside, there's $6 beer, wine and food on sale. Evenings are strictly 21-plus and children are welcome on German Day Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

MacArthur Blvd. and Fruitvale Ave.
Oakland, CA 94602
Date: Oct. 4, 2014

It looks like a typo but is actually an Oakland Oktoberfest. Held on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the fun takes place about two miles from BART's Fruitvale Station, where connecting buses are found. Four music and dancing stages present acts to suit the occasion, such as Golden Gate Bavarian Dancers and Deutscher Musikverein. Tasting tickets can be purchased online at $20 to include a festival tasting stein plus four 12-ounce pours of craft beer. More than two dozen breweries are participating, with everybody looking to the main stage for this year's German Style Homebrew Competition winner announcement.

At Oktoberfest at San Pedro Square Market, San Jose (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

San Pedro Square Market
87 N. San Pedro St.
San Jose, CA 95110
Date: Oct. 11, 2014

Always the place for a big event, Oktoberfest 2013 was a giant success. This year's indoor/outdoor beer garden party is Oct. 11  from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. A ticket buys an officially branded one-liter souvenir stein filled with your choice of five authentic German beers to go with hot brat and sauerkraut, deep fried pickles, pork schnitzel and spaetzle, Oktober sausage rolls, German potato pancakes and handcrafted pretzels. Join Mr. & Mrs. Oktoberfest for the Wiener Dachshund race and dog costume parade, brat eating contest and best costume competition.

Campbell Oktoberfest
Campbell Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008
(408) 378-6252
Date: Oct. 18-19, 2014

The outdoor fall harvest festival is the number one occasion for downtown Campbell, attracting folks from all around. Taking place the third weekend in October on Campbell Avenue along the four blocks from Third Street to Railway Avenue, everybody is looking forward to the 20th annual Oktoberfest. Admission is free of charge for the day-long event when 40,000-plus show up for food, music, dance, art and great beer. The tubas are tooting beginning on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and again on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on


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