Despite its name, the actual Oktoberfest kicks off this weekend in Bavaria, and so do the local versions of the world’s largest beer fest. Some of our Oktoberfest events aim to be legit celebrations of German heritage, while others definitely have more of a Central Illinois character to them.
Truth be told, this one is hard to beat. Not only does it take over the city’s downtown riverfront all the way from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, but it opens with an Oktoberfest parade and features several bands straight from the motherland. Check out the event’s massive schedule:
It’s far shorter and more low-key, but it does offer authentic German fare prepared by one of Normal’s top foodie havens.
This one is definitely not going to transport you to Bavaria – not with a country band and a Grateful Dead tribute for your live entertainment. But this popular downtown Springfield bar has been doing Oktoberfest for four years, so obviously people like it, and they will have a German menu on both days.
Champaign-Urbana’s Oktoberfest is farther down the road (Oct. 5), and it’s more of an authentic thing, even if none of the entertainers are actually from Germany. Also, it benefits a great cause!
Actual Germans would not go for a chili cook-off, nor would they want to see The Feudin’ Hillbillies onstage. But Sullivan is in Illinois Amish Country, and they do things their way, including holding an art show and offering wine tastings during their two-day (Oct. 18-19) Oktoberfest celebration. Also let’s not forget the sausage-eating competition.
We’ll keep you updated as other Oktoberfests pop up in our radar!
Representational image via Unsplash.com.