Oktoberfest started in 1810 as an huge royal wedding celebration.
The party continues every year in Munich from the third weekend of September through the beginning of October.
If you didn’t book a flight to Germany, you’ll find plenty of Oktoberfest options throughout Lancaster County. Local Oktoberfests started last week and continue through the end of October. While these celebrations have beer to toast, organizers say they’re fun even if you don’t pick up a pint. There’s German food, music, dancing and an excuse to break out the dirndl or lederhosen.
Lancaster Liederkranz kicked off the festivities Sept. 21.
Stoudt Brewing Co. in Adamstown started Oktoberfest celebrations in 1979. The brewery's president and founder Carol Stoudt wanted an event to show locals why she loves German beer gardens.
Since then, breweries and other groups have joined in.
Here are six Oktoberfests happening throughout the county:
What: German-style food, music, games and beer, including Lancaster Brewing's Oktoberfest.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 14.
Where: All Lancaster Brewing Company locations, including 302 N. Plum St., Lancaster and 2323 Lincoln Highway East. Note: each location has a different menu.
Cost: No cost for entry.
More information: facebook.com/LancasterBrew
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Oktoberfest on a train
What: Enjoy German food and a flight of five regional beers on a train.
When: Saturdays, Oct. 6, 13 and 20. Boarding starts at 5:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. train.
Where: Strasburg Rail Road, 301 Gap Road, Ronks.
Cost: Tickets are $60 for adults 21 and older; $55 for ages 12-20 and $32 for ages 2-11.
More information: bit.ly/StrasOktober or 866-725-9666.
What: OktoberForest will raise awareness for the role healthy forests play in filtering water, beer’s main ingredient. Visit with The Nature Conservancy’s staff at Tröegs' Harvest Hop Fest. The brewery will also have apples, cider and pumpkins for sale, live music plus cheese to pair with local beer.
When: Noon-4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7
Where: Troegs Independent Brewing, 200 E. Hersheypark Drive Hershey
More information: www.OktoberForest.org.
What: Live German music, dancing, lagers and ales from Stoudt Brewing Co. and German food.
When: Saturday, Oct. 13, gates open at 4 p.m. (MountainXpress Band plays from 6-10 p.m.); Sunday, Oct. 14, gates open at noon. Alex Meixner Band plays 2-6 p.m.); Saturday, Oct. 20, gates open at 4 p.m. (The Adlers play from 6-10 p.m.) and Sunday, Oct. 21., gates open at noon. (Mädel Jäger Band plays from 2–6 p.m.)
Where: Stoudt Brewing Co., 2800 N. Reading Road, Adamstown.
Cost: General admission tickets are $10. Children under age 11 are free. $25 buys admission and three drink tickets. $30 buys admission, three drink tickets and a glass stein.
More information: stoudts.com/events or 717-484-4386.
Ephrata Community Oktoberfest
What: German food, music, games and beer.
When: 1-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20
Where: Grater Community Park, Cloister Avenue, Ephrata.
Cost: $50 all-inclusive tickets include a T-shirt, beer mug, one beer and food. General admission tickets ($30) include admission.
More information: bit.ly/EOktoberfest