Tempe Oktoberfest: Arizona’s Biggest and Best

A German Extravaganza

Slip into your dirndls or lederhosen, and get ready to celebrate all things German at the Tempe Town Lake Oktoberfest. Taking place Oct. 13-15, the three-day bash is an impressive reproduction of the original fun fair in Munich. This is a family-friendly event, but you can make it a beer-filled adult outing as well.

The Drinking

Every Oktoberfest has one aspect in common: the beer. The Tempe version features eight beer stations where you can fill massive steins with domestic or international selections. Don’t forget to try the pumpkin-flavored ale, and check out the Beers of the World tent. There are also plenty of wine gardens for the more refined palates.

The Eating

After a few hours of intense imbibing, you’ll want to soak up some of the alcohol with food. Vendors are stationed throughout the grounds, and they offer loads of genuine German fare and traditional carnival cuisine. Chomp on a sourdough pretzel while you stroll around, or sit down for a plate of sauerkraut, brats and gooey German mac-and-cheese.

The Merriment

Oktoberfest isn’t just about the food and drink; it’s also a fair. You and your family can enjoy typical midway games and rides as well as fun contests, including a brat-eating competition. There is even a dachshund race called Weiner Mania. Kinderfest, a special children’s zone, features kiddie rides, a splash park, treat bags and a craft station.

The Music

Musical performances are a huge part of Oktoberfest, and you can enjoy some live entertainment on all three days. The star of the festival is the non-stop polka, but there will be various authentic German performers and local bands as well. If that type of music isn’t your thing, you can catch rapper Lil Jon on stage Friday night.

General admission to Oktoberfest is free, and the event begins 5 p.m. Friday. You might want to check out the opening ceremony, which includes a keg tapping kickoff and colorful children’s parade. From that point on, this annual extravaganza is a continuous stream of laughter, craziness and beer-soaked memories.

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