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Wander Minnesota: Oktoberfest

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(credit: Amy Rea)

(credit: Amy Rea)

Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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It’s late September—time for Oktoberfest. Minnesota might have a reputation for a Scandinavian heritage, but Germans had a hand in settling our state too.

Things are already underway for Wabasha’s SeptOberfest, which began earlier this month and runs through Oct. 27. Just walking around the historic downtown and taking in the variety of handmade Halloween decorations is worth the trip, but you can also check out the largest pumpkin and sunflower contests, take a riverside carriage ride, picnics, parades, music, and plenty of food.

Moorhead’s Hjemkomst Center celebrates with a German Festival on Sept. 28, right on the museum grounds with live music and plenty of food.

Of course, the city of New Ulm is a prime source of Oktoberfest celebrations. In its 32nd year, this annual event takes place the weekends of Oct. 4-5 and 11-12 and includes numerous live music performances, parades, craft fairs, petting zoos, and of course, plenty of German food (as well as cheese curds) and brews from local company Schell’s Brewery.

In the metro, there are several options. The Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis celebrates its heritage Sept. 27-Oct. 6, and as always, it has a packed schedule of food specials, live entertainment (tubas!), and even an Angela Merkel Austerity Night.

Harriet Brewing offers a one-day celebration on Sept. 28, advertising it as a “Beer, Art, Food & Music Festival”, complete with local bands and food trucks.

You can also venture out to the State Fairgrounds the first weekend in October for Twin Cities Oktoberfest, complete with plenty of beer and brats as well as live entertainment, a carnival, and bar games.

In St. Paul, the Glockenspiel will whoop it up on Oct. 5 with its annual Glock-Toberfest. Expect a sausage sampling and, if you can stand it, a beer belly contest.

Pelican Rapids spends four days honoring the season with its annual Oktoberfest, Oct. 10-13. A polka party, wine and beer tasting, 5K/10K run, Volksmarch, and pinochle tournament are among the scheduled activities.

Or you could take in the Oktoberfest at Ruttger’s in Deerwood, north east of Brainerd, the weekend of Oct. 18-20. At 28 years, Ruttger’s isn’t far behind New Ulm in its celebration of October. Plenty of entertainment and kids’ activities (including a kids’ tractor pull) as well as a polka dance.

If you’d like to just relax and enjoy your Oktoberfest, Padelford River Boats is offering Oktoberfest lunch cruises on Saturdays in October, with the bonus of a cruise down the Mississippi River while eating. Let’s hope the fall foliage cooperates.

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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