By Dana DiSante
Communities across NoVA are celebrating Oktoberfest, a tradition originating in Munich that dates back centuries. Once a way to commemorate marriages, the modern tradition is simulated with authentic German cuisine, beer and culture.
During summer, we search out ways to spend as much time as possible outdoors: concerts, carnivals and picnics. But as the leaves begin to change colors and daylight hours wane earlier every day, the opportunities to enjoy fresh air become few and far between. However, Oktoberfests arrive just in time for autumn with lively outdoor entertainment.
Oktoberfests embrace German culture while attracting beer enthusiasts of all walks of life. Although beer and spirits are the main attraction at many of these festivals, NoVA hosts dozens of Oktoberfests that are also geared toward families, with pumpkin patches, corn mazes and more.
Annual Lovettsville Oktoberfest
Sept. 25-27, times vary
On Friday evening, the first beer tap opens, signaling the commemorative opening of Lovettsville’s Oktoberfest. There will be live music throughout the weekend, including traditional Bavarian music and a dance workshop led by the Alpine Dancers. Elsewhere, Kinderfest will accommodate visitors with young children, along with carnival games, pony rides and a climbing wall.
Fort Belvoir’s Oktoberfest
Sept. 29-Oct. 2, times vary
Hosted by Fort Belvoir Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, this Oktoberfest is geared toward providing entertainment to the Army and their families but welcomes the general public as well. The Belvoir Enlisted Spouses’ Club presents a marketplace for visitors to buy crafts, baked goods and other items at showcased booths. In addition to traditional beer and food, the festival hosts the 5K/10K Volksmarch, which is dog- and stroller-friendly.
17th Annual CapCity Oktoberfest in Arlington
Oct. 1, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Admission: Free; $30 for beer tastings
The Capitol City Brewing Company is sponsoring the 17th Annual Oktoberfest this year in Arlington. For beer enthusiasts, this event will offer tastings from more than 65 breweries.
Oct. 1, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Benefitting First Night Vienna, Oktoberfest Vienna presents live music, beer gardens and competitions. At the beer garden, visitors can register for the post-beer cutoff chicken dance competition and contests for the best Oktoberfest attire.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm Oktoberfest
Oct. 1, 6-9 p.m.
Admission: $35 for adults, $25 for volunteers and $12 for children
The Oktoberfest at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm celebrates traditional German culture as colonists experienced it. After dinner is served, dancing and a silent auction will commence to raise funds to support the farm.
Oktoberfest Reston 2016
Oct. 8-9, times vary
Admission:24 tickets for $20 (tickets can be used for food, beer, etc.)
For the competitive at heart, Oktoberfest Reston is the place to be this fall. Sam Adams hosts a stein-drinking challenge, but if you’re not interested in drinking, you can also go for gold in the chili cook-off and pumpkin 5K.
Old Town OctoBeer Fest
Oct. 14-15, times vary
Enjoy three tastings for $5 while experiencing authentic German culture at the Brats and Beer Hall in Old Town Winchester. Local restaurants and shops will be open during the festival, and vendors will sell authentic German food.