Oompah music, bratwurst, pretzels and good beer in the fall mean one thing: Oktoberfest is in full swing. Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when it marked the celebration of a royal wedding in Bavaria, and it is traditionally held in September. Today, you can find German-themed celebrations in and around Chicago well into the fall. Break out your dirndls and lederhosen (or wear your usual jeans and a top) for these family-friendly Oktoberfests.
When: Sept. 28
Where: German American Heritage Center, 25249 S. Center Road, Frankfort
Walking into the German American Heritage Center’s Oktoberfest in the south suburb of Frankfort makes you feel like you’ve been transported to southern Germany. For Oktoberfest, a children’s group will perform traditional German dances. You’ll want to stay to eat all the brats, sauerkraut and pretzels!
When: Sept. 27-29
Where: St. Alphonsus Church, 1429 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago
It’s easy to see why this fun event was named one of the best Oktoberfests in the nation in USA Today. Don’t miss Kinderfest, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Kinderfest activities range from polka lessons to an inflatable obstacle course and face painting. Musial entertainment also includes Chicago’s favorite festival bands including 16 Candles, Polkaholics and American English.
When: Oct. 4-5
Where: Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville
It doesn’t matter what the weather is, the Oktoberfest at Naper Settlement happens rain or shine because it takes place under a large, heated tent full of tables decked in the traditional Bavarian blue. Kids’ activities are offered Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.
When: Sept. 27-29
Where: Downtown Batavia
If you can’t make it to Bavaria, head to Batavia, where the Oktoberfest is full of family fun. This festival hosts several fun contests, including both yodeling and dirndl/lederhosen faceoffs, as well as a German language Spelling Bee and stein-hoisting contests. Of course, there is plenty of beer to put in the adults’ steins and lots of food and beverage options for kids, too.
When: Oct. 11-12
Where: Emerson Street & Busse Ave., Mount Prospect
The Mount Prospect Downtown Merchants Association stages this event to celebrate the town’s heritage. The event takes place just a short walk from the Metra stop. Saturday features a Fall Festival with a big focus on family fun from 1-4 p.m., and Oktoberfest takes over from 4 p.m. and lasts until 11 with Phenix German Band providing the tunes. Organizers say it will be guaranteed gemutlichkeit (good times) for all!
This article was originally published on Sept. 19, 2017. It has been updated with the most recent information.