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Raise a Beer Stein to Oktoberfest 2012

Get your lederhosen out—Oktoberfest is here! St. James begins its annual celebration in Sewickley while the Bark'toberfest at Larry's Laundro'mutt over in Edgeworth is all about the dogs.

Before Halloween is here, there’s another not-so-spooky way to celebrate the fall: the German holiday of Oktoberfest!

While you're looking forward to dressing up in a costume and nearly getting a cavity from the candy intake, you can don knee socks and feast on bratwursts and beer.

In its native Bavaria, Germany, Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated for 16 days, and this year the fun goes from Sept. 22—Oct. 7. It is one of the most spirited celebrations in Germany, and is a huge part of Bavarian culture.

The first Oktoberfest was in 1810, as part of Crown Prince Ludwig’s wedding festivities, and has continued ever since.

Celebrations kick off this weekend in the Sewickley Valley starting at 6 p.m. tonight (Friday) with Oktoberfest at St. James. If you want to try a celebration that's a little more pet friendly, Bark'toberfest at Larry's Laundro'mutt in Sewickley begins at 7 p.m.

Other upcoming events include: 

  • A German Food Festival from 10 to 5 p.m. Saturday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Ambridge. The festival includes food and tours of the historic church.
  • The food festival coincides with Erntefest at Old Economy Village from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • Village Green Partners and Sharp Edge will host Oktoberfest on two nights from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5 and 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 under a giant tent. Highlights include German beverages, food and entertainment by Pittsburgh-based German band Gaudi Buam on Friday and German accordionist Conrad Ostertag followed by the Continental Dukes on Saturday.
  • Oktoberfest at Old Economy on Oct. 13 involves German beer, traditional food and entertainment by the Bavarian Band. 

If you prefer to celebrate Octoberfest in the comfort of your home, we should note that Oktoberfest sends lots of Americans to the store to stock up on sausages and spirits during the celebration. 

Try your hand at some native German recipes like sauerkraut and potato pancakes or unique beers during the 16-day celebration. They'll have your taste buds saying “danke schön”! You can also try grilled bratwurst with German potato salad. Finishing off the meal with a German apple strudel is also sure to be a crowd pleaser.

And of course, you can’t say auf wiedersehen to Oktoberfest without a proper polka. Here are some polka dance moves and a tutorial that will make you the toast of the celebration.

Glückliches Oktoberfest!

TELL US: How are you going to celebrate Oktoberfest? Do you have any favorite Oktoberfest foods? 

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