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.
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
Glover Park standby Old Europe is the perfect low-key alternative to guzzling beers and brats in a tent. The venue has crafted a special menu filled with classic German fare, such as the Schlachtplatt (a platter of basically every meat available in Western Europe), as well as Bavarian pretzels and $5 steins of Spaten Oktoberfest bier — the same brew that's served at the fairgrounds in Munich.
When: Menu available now through the end of October.
Where: Old Europe, 2434 Wisconsin Avenue NW; 202-333-7600.
When: Sunday, October 14, from noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Kentlands Village Green, 320 Kent Square Road, Gaithersburg; 301-258-6350.
When: Thursday, October 11, from 4-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, October 12-13, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, October 14, from 1-5 p.m.
Where: 202 Harrison Street SE, Leesburg; 703-779-7880.
When: Saturday, October 15, from 1-5 p.m.
Where: Yards Park, 3rd and Water streets SE; no phone. Tickets are $25 to $50; purchase in advance here.
The Charles County Oktoberfest is a little farther afield, but this party promises to bring Germany to Southern Maryland — think wursts, wieners, beer, and live music, plus keg tosses and lederhosen-clad accordion players.
When: Saturday, October 13, from noon to 7 p.m., and Sunday, October 14, from noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Charles County Fairgrounds, 8440 Fairgrounds Road, La Plata; 301-934-1268.
Tickets are $5 to $15; purchase at the gate or online.
If you're after the real deal, Old Stein Inn is a tried-and-true favorite — it’s a contender for the Best German Restaurant in America, actually. And this spot has some big plans for Germany’s favorite festival – check it out for the cuisine, biergarten, and rotating appearances by traditional bands.
When: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through October 28. See a full schedule of events here.
Where: 1143 Central Avenue, Edgewater; 410-798 6807.