Wait a minute; why are we talking about Oktoberfest in September?
You can thank the German Crown Prince Ludwig and his bride to be, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, for getting the stein rolling on this fall festival when they got married on October 12, 1810.
All of the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the Royal Party in the fields in front of the city gates. But it was the horse races that marked the end of the event that got the citizens thinking, “Wir sollten das jedes Jahr machen!”(tr: “We should do this every year!”)
However, the following year, 1811, desperately needed a German version of Julie McCoy from The Love Boat, because while the horses were back prancing about as the Bavarian entertainment, that was about it. There were no food tents or beer offerings, much less field games, leaving most Munich citizens to shrug and say “Meh” in German and go home.
By 1818, after all of the yearly Bavarian horse prancing, someone put up a small beer stand. That took off hotter than Sonnenstich, or “sunstroke,” because then the meager beer stands became beer tents in subsequent years, then great beer halls, while the festival expanded into athe ultimate Bavarian carnival with carousels and games.
As the momentum of the annual event took off, organizers stretched it out to a week, but then realized that mid-October was a bit too cold to enjoy outdoor festivities under the tents, so subsequent Oktoberfests were planned in mid-September, when the nights were warmer with the last of the festival ending the first weekend of October.
Here, then in order of chronological order are the Oktoberfests open to the public to enjoy this fall:
September 22, 2018
ANAH Shrine YOSHI Oktoberfest — Bangor
Hosted by Rollies’ Bar and Grill, this event is a fundraiser for the Shriners Hospital going from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a VIP Hour from 11 a.m. to noon and beer, brats, and pretzels available. Prizes for best dressed will be awarded, get your lederhosen out! Tickets are $25-30 (which include two drink tickets). FMI: ANAH Oktoberfest
Rangeley Oktoberfest — Rangeley
These guys are serious. For four days, this festival will offer food, entertainment and a cornucopia of beers along with a Brat and Streudel Contest, Stein Hoisting Finals, the Maine Forestry Museum’s Apple Festival on Saturday, a Scarecrow Ball on Sunday. And the fall foliage will just start to be showing its true colors right about then. FMI: Rangeley Oktoberfest
Maine Lakes Brewfest Weekend — Point Sebago
Though, technically a Brew Fest, this will encompass more than a few of the Bavarian styles and tastes with Oktoberfest entertainment. This all-inclusive three-day weekend is only for adults, designed to celebrate Maine made beers and wines while highlighting a Maine artisan craft show on September 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. . Note: you can book the entire three-day package with lodging through Point Sebago or just go for the Saturday event for $35 FMI: Brewfest Weekend package or Maine Lakes Brewfest single ticket.
Acadia Oktoberfest — Southwest Harbor
With a wine tasting on the Friday night and 20+ brewers represented on Brewfest on the Saturday afternoon, the Acadia Oktoberfest’s Beer, Food, Music and crafts festival is lighting up the quiet side of the island for a weekend. This year also launches its first Homebrewing Competition Saturday, October 6. Tickets are $20 for the wine tasting event and $35 for the Brew Fest event. FMI: Acadia Oktoberfest
Swine and Stein Oktoberfest — Gardiner
It’s a pork party! It’s a street party! Visit the Biergarten tent to taste great Maine craft beers, ciders, and wine. There will also be food trucks, music, corn hole and a giant Jenga, a Frozen T-Shirt Race, Main State Rock Paper Scissors Championship, and Swine Calling Contest. Tickets range from $15 to $50. FMI: Swine and Stein
Odd Alewives Oktoberfest — Waldoboro
Odd Alewives Brewing Co. is pairing up with Morse’s Saurkraut to do it up locally. If you can think of no finer way to spend a fall day than at a farm brewery in Maine, drinking crisp ale & eating hearty German fare to the sounds of a Bavarian oompah music, we hope you’ll join us and make this historic year one to remember. Goes from 12 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-70 with all of the details here.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org