The air in New England has gotten crisper for sure, but we still have a month before boats need to be wrapped or headed south! All along the eastern seaboard, boaters can take advantage of beautiful October weekends by exploring new harbors and toasting a great summer.
And where better to raise a toast than Oktoberfest? We've rounded up some of the festivities taking place all along the east coast – so raid your lazarette for your lederhosen and make your way to a bier tent near you.
A Brief History of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest celebrations, held each year in late September and early October throughout the world, are modeled after the German beer festival that started in Munich in 1810 to promote local Bavarian agriculture. Each year roughly 6 million people participate in Oktoberfests around the world, sampling one of Germany's finest exports and learning about the rowdy side of Germanic culture.
Here are some harbor-town Oktoberfests you can still catch this weekend and throughout October!
October 7 & 8, the 21st Annual Acadia Oktoberfest takes place at Smuggler's Den Campground in Southwest Harbor, Maine. The weekend kicks off the evening of Friday, October 7, with their 7th Annual Wine & Cheese Festival, and continues Saturday afternoon with lively festivities including everything from keg tossing competitions to stein hoisting, and war canoe races to belt sander races.
- When: October 7, 4-PM, October 8, 12PM-5PM
- Where: Smuggler's Den Campground, 20 Main Street, Southwest Harbor, Maine
- Where to tie-up: Hinckley Yacht Services Southwest Harbor is a 9-minute drive away (View map)
Harpoon Octoberfest takes place this Friday night and Saturday afternoon, September 30 & October 1 at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston. Now in its 27th year, this event comes complete with beer (of course), bratwursts, chicken dancing, German chocolate cake-eating contests, oompah music, and hundreds of genuine rowdy Bostonians. Quick aside: To all the beer festivals that offer free non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers like this one does, we salute you.
When: Friday, September 30, 5:30PM - 11PM (doors close 9:30PM) & Saturday, October 1, 1PM - 7PM (doors close 5:30PM)
Where: Harpoon Brewery at 306 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210
This Saturday New Bedford hosts its 10th annual NB Oktoberfest, a local fundraiser sponsored by the South Coast Business Alliance. This fest features live music, nearly 50 local, seasonal craft brews, as well as sangria, cider & gluten-free beer.
When: Saturday, October 1, 3PM - 12AM
Where: State Pier Ferry Terminal, New Bedford, MA 02740
The party returns to Boston on Saturday, October 8 for Oktoberfest Massachusetts. This fest appears more music-centric as opposed to a celebration of beer or German culture, so if you make your way to it, let us know how it is!
- When: Saturday, October 8, 2016, 5:30PM - 9:30 PM
- Where: 100 Warrenton Street, Boston, MA 02116
- Where to tie-up: Boston Waterboat Marina and India Wharf Marina are closest – just 30 minutes on foot – to this downtown festival (View map), and if you want to switch it up from the previous weekend, check out the other marinas in Boston Harbor.
Head to Bristol, RI this weekend for the Oktoberfest kickoff parade, then join the festivities – complete with German cuisine, music, and dancing – every Wednesday & Thursday in October at Oktoberfest at Redlefsen’s. We may just pop by ourselves, after reading possibly one of the best invitations on the world wide web:
Large parties are encouraged! The louder you sing the more the dancers pay attention to you. And if someone's spouse says they don't think they like German food, they can have a half chicken or cod. If they still complain tell them to stay at home. This event is for fun people only.
Redlefsen's is not playing tiddlywinks when it comes to Oktoberfest.
- When: September 29 to October 28, 2016
- Where: Redlefsen's Rotisserie & Grille, 444 Thames St, Bristol, RI 02809
- Where to tie-up: Bristol Harbor, the Herreshoff Museum, or Bristol Marine (view map)
This Saturday, October 1, join the Oktoberfest Pub Crawl through downtown Norwich, Connecticut, an annual event planned by the Norwich Community Development Corporation.
- When: Saturday, October 1 2016, 6PM-11PM
- Where: Downtown Norwich Historic District, Norwich, Connecticut 06360
- 6-7PM: La Stella Pizzeria
7-8PM: Harp & Dragon
8-9PM: Billy Wilson's Ageing Still
9-10PM: These Guys Brewing Co.
- 6-7PM: La Stella Pizzeria
- Where to tie-up: The Marina at American Wharf is a 7-minute walk from your first stop on the pub crawl. (View map)
Oktoberfest New York wraps up this weekend! Head to NYC for some schnitzel and beer at Watermark NY (Pier 15) in Lower Manhattan.
- When: October 1 & 2, 2016
- Where: The Watermark New York at Pier 15, 78 South St, New York, NY 10038
- Where to tie-up: Liberty Landing Marina is a dinghy ride across the Hudson. (View map)
For the next two weekends, head to Wildwood, NJ for Morey’s Pier Oktoberfest for beer, brats, pretzels, roller coasters, tilt-a-whirls, live entertainment, and even a "Rootbier" Garden for kids! Adorable.
- When: October 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th, 2016
- Where: Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks, 3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260
- Where to tie-up: Schooner Island Marina in Wildwood is a 30-minute walk, 8-minute drive to Morey's. (View map)
Maryland loves Oktoberfest so much, they start celebrating it in August. Hats off to you, MD!
Flash forward to October 8th for the Das Best Oktoberfest in Baltimore. With an attendance of 60,000 strong, more than 150 beers, German food, authentic polka and oompah bands, chicken dancing, contests, and live music from regional bands, this Oktoberfest may put the rest to shame.
- When: October 8, 2016, 2PM - 6PM (VIP admission begins at 12PM)
- Where: M&T Stadium Parking Lot, Baltimore, MD
- Where to tie-up: Baltimore Marine Centers has three locations that are roughly 25 minutes walking to the stadium. View all Baltimore Dockwa partner marinas here. (View a map to BMC Inner Harbor & Inner Harbor West from the event.)
October 15th, head to the 2nd Annual Havre de Grace Oktoberfest in Hutchins Park!
- When: October 15, 2016, 2PM-7PM
- Where: Hutchins Park, Havre de Grace, MD
- Where to tie-up: Tidewater Marina and the Havre de Grace Marine Center are both a 10-minute walk away. (View map)
At the end of the month, head to OC-Toberfest in Ocean City!
- When: Oct 22-23 & 29-30, 2016
- Where: The beach at Division Street, Ocean City MD
- Where to tie up: Sunset Marina is a 35-minute walk or an even quicker dinghy ride (View map)
This weekend in Wilmington, head to the Oktoberfest Under the Bridge at the Waterline Brewing Company! Later in the month, the fun continues with the 13th Annual Wilmington Oktoberfest on October 22 & 23, complete with authentic German food and beer, wiener dog races, live music and kids zone.
- When: October 22 & 23
- Where: 230 Government Center Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403
- Where to tie up: Port City Marina is a 15-minute drive away (View map)
This Saturday head to Portsmouth, VA for their annual Bier Garden Oktoberfest!
- When: Saturday, October 1, 12PM - 9PM
- Where: 438 High St, Portsmouth, VA 23704
- Where to tie-up: Ocean Yacht Marina and Tidewater Yacht Marina are both about 10-minutes away walking. (View map)
October 7 - 9 2016, head to Savannah, Georgia for the 33rd Annual River Street Oktoberfest, presented by the Savannah Waterfront Association. This 3-day festival on historic River Street overlooks the Savannah River, and is known as Savannah’s premiere fall party. Take part in the fun with a sausage eating contest, wiener dog races, chicken dances, and live entertainment all weekend. Get there Friday evening for Savannah's monthly first Friday fireworks after sunset.
- When: October 7 - 9 2016, 4PM - 7PM
- Where: River Street, Savannah Georgia
- Where to tie up: Find slips and moorings in Savannah, Georgia.
The weekend of October 7th, head to Tarpon Springs Oktoberfest for authentic German bier, oompa bands, German cuisine, artisans, and more!
- When: Friday & Saturday, October 7 & 8, 10AM to 11PM, and Sunday, October 9 12PM to 6PM
- Where: 21 North Safford Avenue, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
- Where to tie-up: Port Tarpon Marina is an 8-minute drive or cab ride southeast (View map)
Or, make your way to Oktoberfest Tampa. They tap the kegs Friday, then begin the weekend of beer, food, music, and games – including Oktoberfest Olympiad, keg toss, stein holding, carry the wench and corn hole. (We have high hopes for all of our pirates in the "Carry the Wench" category.)
- When: October 7-9, 2016
- Where: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL
- Where to tie-up: Inter-Bay Moorings in Gibsonton is a 20-minute drive (View map)
Over in Fort Lauderdale, the party picks up on October 15th in Huizenga Park for Las Olas Octoberfest.
- When: Saturday, October 15, 1PM - 11PM
- Where: 32 E Las Olas Blvd Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
- Where to tie-up: Stay at Marina Mile Yachting Center or the Yacht Management Service Center, both within a 15-20 minute drive. (View map)
Also October 15th in Saint Petersburg, check out the Tierra Verde Oktoberfest community party with market and beer garden.
- When: Saturday, October 1, 4PM - 9PM
- Where: Tierra Verde Downtown Parking Lot, 1110 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, Florida 33715
- Where to tie-up: Book a slip nearby at Harborage Marina, about 20 minutes away. (View map)
And last but not least, if you're in the Cape Coral neighborhood at the end of October, make a point to swing by the 31st Annual Oktoberfest Cape Coral on the weekends of October 21-23 and 28-30.
Hosted by the German-American Social Club of Cape Coral, this party boasts an outdoor biergarten with three stages and two dance floors, live music throughout the weekend, German beer, sausage platters, bratwurst, schweinhaxen, potato pancakes, crafts, and a carnival area for kids with rides and games. There are also hand made crafts for purchase from the vendors and exhibitors.
- When: October 21-23 & October 28-30
- Where: 2101 SW Pine Island Rd., Cape Coral, FL 33991
- Where to tie up: Tarpon Point Marina is about 20 minutes away by car. (View map)
By: Becky Pineo
Published on 9/28/16 10:24 AM