By Gillian Burdett
Autumn in New England brings sunny days, cool evenings, spectacular fall foliage and, during Oktoberfest, lederhosen, volksmusik, and biergärten. German American Societies across Connecticut have helped preserve and promote German culture in the state. Even people with no Bavarian ancestry can’t resist the one-two-three step of a polka under a tent filled with the smell of smoked Braunschweiger. When the green leaves of Connecticut turn to gold, its time to put on your feathered Alpine hat and head to Oktoberfest. These are our picks for the best fests where you can raise a stein and belt out “Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!”
Old Heidelberg Oktoberfest
Old Heidelberg German Restaurant
55 Stony Hill Road
Bethel, CT 06801
Dates: Sept. 8 through Sept. 10, 2017 at 12 p.m.
The Old Heidelberg is shutting down its indoor dining room for three weekends this September and moving activity to their outdoor beer garden. Live music starts at 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays. The special Oktoberfest menu includes bratwurst, wienerwurst or krainerwurst with all the fixings, kassler rippchen (smoked pork chops), schwineshaxe (pork shank), salads, pretzels, desserts and, naturally, beer. Oktoberfest includes entertainment for the kids. The Old Heidelberg does not take reservations for Oktoberfest, so it is first come, first seated under the beer garden tent.
Divine Providence Parish Oktoberfest
St. Peter Church
98 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
Date: Sept. 23, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
Two big tents, authentic German food, live Bavarian music and the Alpenland Dancers are the highlight of this German festival, now in its seventh year. Laurel City Historical Fencing will be there demonstrating their skills. The Oktoberfest also includes a bounce house for the kids and craft vendors. The event is handicapped accessible. Admission is $6.
Fowler Rotary Pavilion
1 Shipyard Lane
Milford, CT 06460
Date: Sept. 23, 2017 at 12 p.m.
The 29th Annual Milford Oktoberfest will have authentic German and American food vendors and a large selection of seasonal beers. An Oompah band, along with top local bands will provide non-stop live music. Oktoberfest merchandise will be available for sale and family-friendly games can be found in the Family Corner. Those younger than 21 must be accompanied by an adult. The Milford Oktoberfest is produced by the Rotary Club of Devon. Event proceeds benefit the community.
Harugari German-American Club
Harugari Singing Society
66 Highland St.
West Haven, CT 06516
Date: Sept. 24, 2017, at 1 p.m.
The Harugari German-American Club is dedicated to preserving the music, food and culture of their German ancestors, so you know their Oktoberfest will be the next best thing to Munich. German food and beer will be available for purchase. Entertainment will be provided by The Harugari Schuhplattlers dancers and The Vagabonds, one of New England’s top German bands. Admission is $5. Those younger than 18 are admitted free. Connecticut Beer Trail “Trailblazer” Card Holders get in free and may use their card to get $1 off each purchase of a Connecticut brew.
Quassy Amusement Park Oktoberfest
Quassy Amusement Park
2132 Middlebury Road
Middlebury, CT 06762
Date: Sept. 23 and 24 at 11 a.m.
Combine your Oktoberfest celebrations with all the fun and thrill of amusement park rides. Family-friendly Quassy Amusement Park, on the shores of Lake Quassapaug, will be grilling the bratwurst at their field side pavilion. The Quassy Oktoberfest includes live music and traditional German dancing. The park’s rides are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Music begins in the Oktoberfest Pavilion at 1 p.m. Entrance to the Pavilion is free with park admission.
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