As you navigate your way through two weeks of a German-inspired Oktoberfest, or beer festival, which is celebrated through much of the world, be grateful you're in Boston. Not only are you in a great city, but you have plenty of absolutely great options to eat all the würstel and käsespätzle (cheese noodles) and drink all the lagers you could ever want. They go well together--trust us.
Grab your lederhosen and prepare yourself for hoisting really big mugs. There are several options for you, including festivals. The overall celebration, no matter where you are, will stretch from Sept. 19 through Oct. 4.
If you're going to be celebrating, you may as well know why you're doing it, though, right? While Germans are smart people and certainly celebrate their beer in a way that not every culture does (this is why they're smart), the celebration is actually to commemorate the wedding of an early 19th-century royal Bavarian wedding. King Ludwig I was to be married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810, but he decided that the only logical course of action would be to hold a really big horse race a few days after their wedding, on Oct. 17. Their wedding day, on Oct. 12t and in Munich, was the original Oktoberfest. It is argued occasionally, as well, that the really big horse race less than a week later was the original namesake of Oktoberfest.
After that wedding, the celebration was paused during the Napoleonic Wars. Once it was reinstated, it grew in popularity every year and on the 100th birthday boasted the biggest beer tent in the world.
Now it's gotten popular enough to be held in many cities across the world. That includes Boston. Here's what you can do to have a really good time celebrating Oktoberfest in Bean Town.
Harpoon Oktoberfest Festival
Harpoon Brewery is holding several celebrations during Oktoberfest. On Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, there will be a festival at the brewery with beer, bratwurst and chicken dancing. It's the brewery's 26th Oktoberfest, and the oh-so-very recognizable oompah music will be blasting just outside in this South Boston joint.
These celebrations are from 5:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Friday, then from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The brewery is located at 306 Northern Ave. and the cover charge is $20 (you get a souvenir pint cup and a drink ticket with admission).
37th Harvard Square Oktoberfest
This celebration is a giant parade! There are six stages in it featuring live entertainment. There will be dozens of international food vendors, street sellers hawking art and vintage clothes, and live street bands from around the country. The celebration is technically after the real Oktoberfest, on Oct. 11, but it should be fun anyhow. If it rains, the event will be the next day on Oct. 12.
You'll also have to travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the Harvard campus where Harvard Square is.
Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K
If you're thing is running 5Ks before you drink beer and eat heavy German cuisine, then here's a chance to do that. Grab your sneakers, and get yourself over to 1 Kendall Square in Cambridge by 9:30 a.m. The registration comes with a shirt followed by food and drink, and it's for a good cause: Cambridge Family & Children's Services, one of the oldest human services agencies in Greater Boston.
There are plenty of other Oktoberfest celebrations all over Massachusetts. Have a look and see if you can find one near you here.