To help you experience it properly — we're talking music, food, and lots of quirky fun — we've rounded up the best spots to indulge in schnitzel and lagers outside of Munich (well, at least within an hour’s drive of D.C.). Our advice? You can worry about the carbs later. Bitte!
It goes a little above and beyond the traditions of its German namesake, but we’re not complaining: Oktoberfest Reston has planned a weekend of food, beer, wine, music (three stages with live bands, to be exact), fitness (there’s a 5K on Saturday), and even a full-fledged carnival. Even better? It's all free. Don’t miss the famed Guns 'n’ Hoses Chili Cook-off, where members of Reston’s fire and police departments don aprons and work their magic with beans and cumin to win your vote (and heart).
When: Friday, October 5, from 3-11 p.m.; Saturday, October 6, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, October 7, from noon to 8 p.m.
Where: Reston Town Center, 11900 Market Street, Reston; 703-707-9045.
Germantown Oktoberfest is a natural choice for lovers of the Rhineland — it is Germantown, after all. This community festival is worth the trek — the biergarten, wine tastings, and plentiful wurst aside, it’s also the perfect excuse to put those polka skills to use (and thank Grandpa for all the lessons).
When: Saturday, October 6, from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: High Point Farm, 23730 Frederick Road, Clarksburg; 240-777-5334. Admission is $12.
Capitol City Brewing Company is gearing up for its 13th annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest, where more than 50 breweries are serving up 4-ounce samples. We did the math for you: That’s 25 beers if you sample each one once. You'll score 10 drink tickets for $25, which works out to $2.50 a beer — so, it’s basically your college bar experience, reincarnated with way better suds. You can opt out of drinks and get free admission, and there are plenty of festivities and food to make it worth your while.
When: Saturday, October 6, from noon to 7 p.m.
Where: Capital City Brewing Company, Shirlington Village, 4001 Campbell Avenue, Arlington; 703-578-3888.
Photos: Courtesy of Capital City Brewing Company, Oktoberfest Reston, and Old Stein Inn
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