Enjoy a German stein of beer (credit: Nicole DiCicco)

Beer lovers unite! One of the greatest parts of the fall season is the celebration of Oktoberfest. Held for around two weeks every year in Munich, Germany, the festival is the world’s largest fair. Millions of people attend each year to enjoy traditional German foods, including sausages, pretzels, potato pancakes and sauerkraut, and lots and lots of beer. Not everyone can travel all the way to Munich to take part in this amazing cultural event, so versions of Oktoberfest are celebrated across the world. Connecticut residents can enjoy a variety of Oktoberfest activities this year, ranging from the traditional German experience to more Americanized beer-drinking festivals to festivities at local German restaurants. Here are some key Oktoberfest happenings to put on your calendar this year.

Harugari Singing Society
66 Highland St.
West Haven, CT 06516
(203) 933-9930

Date: October 20

Held indoors on Saturday, October 20th, the Harugari Singing Society of West Haven presents its 2012 Oktoberfest. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and features live entertainment by a group called Mountain Tops. The German-American society is a family-friendly group that embraces traditional German culture including singing, dancing, food and fun. Full of pride for the German heritage, this society’s Oktoberfest is sure to be a close replica of the festival celebrated in the homeland of Germany.

Hartford Sängerbund
719 N. Mountain Road
Newington, CT 06111
(860) 953-8967

Date: October 13

A similar German-American organization, the Hartford Sängerbund has been preserving its German heritage in Connecticut since 1858. Singing and folk dance are the main activities of this group and its annual festivals are successful in bringing the community together for a variety of celebrations. The organization will be celebrating Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 13th beginning at noon. The event features live entertainment and, of course, traditional German culture. At the Sängerbund, all are “willkommen” (German for “welcome”).

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Brewfest at the Beach
The Pavilion at Ocean Beach Park
1225 Ocean Ave.
New London, CT 06320
(860) 447-3031

Date: October 5

The Rotary Club of New London is proud to present its version of Oktoberfest entitled Brewfest at the Beach. True to the event’s name, this beer-guzzling party takes place at the pavilion at Ocean Beach Park on Friday, October 5th. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased online (for an additional $2.37 fee). Ticket prices include 15 beer-tasting tickets, all-you-can-eat food and live music and dancing with entertainment by the Rhythm Method Band. This is the perfect event for anyone interested in sampling new brews as there will be more than 150 beers, both domestic and imported, so guests can try nearly every style.

Oktoberfest at New Haven Country Club
160 Hartford Turnpike
Hamden, CT 06517
(203) 624-0947 ext. 229

Date: October 6

For the second year in a row, the New Haven Country Club will play host to an AIDS Project New Haven Oktoberfest event. The charity, operating since 1983, aims to help individuals and families affected by HIV. Tickets to the Oktoberfest are $65 and include over 100 craft beers, German food, live entertainment and an auction. Featured breweries include New England Brewery, Cavalry Brewing and Berkshire Brewing Company. While these tickets may be a bit pricier, keep in mind that attendees are supporting a great organization in addition to having an amazing time.

East Side Restaurant
131 Dwight St.
New Britain, CT 06051
(860) 223-1188

If your fall calendar is too overloaded to take part in an Oktoberfest event near you, East Side Restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate Oktoberfest any time. The German restaurant, family owned and operated for more than 70 years, features great beer steins of the native country’s best brews. Additionally, customers can feast on a five-course dinner of Germany’s most popular dishes. This place is not your average restaurant. The atmosphere is upbeat and lively and it’s always a party.

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Nicole DiCicco is multimedia specialist in Connecticut who enjoys dancing, movies and live music. She writes about all the nightlife Connecticut has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.