After two years of stripped-down Oktoberfest events in South Florida, full-throttle weekends of lagers, brats and lederhosen are back at local bars, breweries and German-American clubs.
When Munich’s actual Oktoberfest took pandemic pauses in 2020 and 2021, South Florida followed suit by deliberately scaling back carnivals and beer-barrel races while limiting public gatherings.
But while it’s not October yet, it is time to raise das boot again. So get ready to sip golden-yellow Hofbräu, dance to oompah bands and load your plates with spaetzle and Black Forest cake.
Here are seven parties taking place through the end of October everywhere from Hollywood to Fort Lauderdale to Lake Worth Beach. And remember, revelers, that a rideshare is your best “freund.”
Saturday, Sept. 17, at 280 SW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-353-3193; TarponRiverBrewing.com
Friendly neighborhood biermeister Julian Siegel, who has done much to grow Fort Lauderdale’s craft-beer renaissance, is throwing this free daylong fest in the taproom of his downtown gastropub, Tarpon River Brewing. His brewery will pour New River Fest Märzen, a dark amber lager punched with spice and rich, nutty Vienna malts. Tarpon River’s restaurant will serve German-inspired beer brats, while Colors in the Void, a Miami-based Phish tribute band, will sound off at 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 24, Oct. 8 and Oct. 22 at 6401 Washington St., Hollywood; 954-322-6227; GermanAmericanClubHollywood.org
This family-friendly celebration will unspool over three weekends, the first of which features music by Chet Banach and entertainment by Bavarian folk dancers the Original Auerhahn Schuhplattlers. On Oct. 8, there will be live music by accordionist Bob Houston and dancing from Pure Dynamics Dance Studio Cloggers; and on Oct 22, more live music from Houston and entertainment by the Auerhahn Schuhplattlers. Admission: $12 at the door. Separately, a Halloween-Oktoberfest crossover event at the clubhouse, Shocktöberfest ($15 via Eventbrite.com), will feature a $100 costume contest, German cuisine, a makeup artist, and hard rock, metal and alternative bands.
Oct. 1-2 at The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, 20 W. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-372-7606; WharfFTL.com
For a less traditional Oktoberfest experience, hoist your steins at The Wharf, downtown Fort Lauderdale’s open-air party monster, where a pop-up biergarten will tout live German music, decor and this drink special: Buy one shot of Jägermeister, receive a free German brew. Wharf vendors Red Cow BBQ, Lunchroom, The Piefather, Cookies & Cream and Los Altos Taqueria will serve food. Admission, which is free, allows children and leashed dogs until 6 p.m., after which The Wharf switches to 21-and-older crowds.
Oct. 7-9 at Jaco Pastorius Park, 4000 N. Dixie Highway, Oakland Park; 954-630-4507; OaklandParkFl.gov
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This is the city’s first full-sized Oktoberfest in three years after moving its bash from its usual perch at Jaco Pastorius Park to next-door Funky Buddha for smaller festivities in 2020 and 2021. Naturally, this means the return of Dachshund Dash, the annual running of speedy weenies to the finish line. There will also be live music, stein and beer barrel races and — new this year — a Doggie Fashion Show. (Is there any stronger statement of Oktoberfest authenticity than a dachshund wearing a dirndl? There is not.) Oktoberfest-themed beers, tapped by the Buddha at its biergarten tent, include Buddhafest Marzen (an amber lager), Floridian Hefeweizen (a golden wheat beer) or Vibin’ Groovable Lager (a citrusy American lager), along with $6 pretzels and $9 brats from its kitchen. Cost is $5 for general admission and free for children younger than 12.
In the “Before Times,” South Florida’s largest and most-authentic German bash drew 35,000 visitors. That’s a lot of bratwurst. After offering a barebones version of its fest in 2020 and 2021, the oompah band-playing, lederhosen-sporting, strudel-serving celebration returns in full force over two weekends. The American German Club of the Palm Beaches’ family-friendly event will have a carnival, flag parades, live music from The Kläberheads as well as Jay Fox and the Jammin’ Germans, Bavarian folk dancers — and no shortage of authentic German cuisine. Cost is $7-$10 (free for children age 7 and younger), plus $20 for clubhouse parking and $25 for optional unlimited rides, via Eventbrite.com. (No tickets will be sold at the gate.)
Oct. 8 at 130 S. H St., Lake Worth Beach; 561-812-3738; MathewsBrewingCompany.com
Owner-beer wizard Dave Mathews’ 117-seat taproom in Lake Worth Beach is throwing a free, daylong Oktoberfest bash in its dog-friendly beer garden with live bands, including power trio Maximum Friction (2 p.m.), sister duo Cris & Alex (4 p.m.) and Toronto-based rockers Girlfriend Material (8 p.m.). The brewery’s hefeweizens and German pilsners will cost $5.50 a pint, and Silver Spork Food Truck will be on hand.
Oct. 22 at 309 SW 26th St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-761-1532; FLFBA.com
A home brew competition with ambitious goals — raising money for sick and injured firefighters — this year’s Oktoberfest will feature five to 10 contestants concocting craft beer for a cause and bragging rights. Proceeds from the $25 admission benefit the Fort Lauderdale Firefighters’ Benevolent Association. “This is a stipend for our firefighters to help make ends meet when insurance coverage won’t,” says organizer Aaron Caja, a driver-engineer at Station 29 in east Fort Lauderdale. The fund, for example, helped former firefighter Vince Castelly convert his house into a wheelchair-compliant home after a 2017 accident left him paralyzed. Admission includes unlimited beer samples and German food. Home brews will be assayed by Julian Siegel (Tarpon River Brewing), Joey Farrell of LauderAle and certified beer cicerone Gary Fuller.