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Where to Oktoberfest

Grab your lederhosen and party

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While you have many fall festivals and fairs to choose from, there is none so legendary as Oktoberfest. The biggest and baddest of all Oktoberfests is in Munich, Germany, but if you don't have a couple thousand dollars for airfare handy, never fear. There are plenty of Oktoberfest celebrations in the South Sound, too. And - really - what's Germany got that Washington doesn't?

Filled to the frothy brim with seasonal Oktoberfest beer, polka bands, schunkeling (if you don't know what that is, look it up. It's a good Oktoberfest skill to know) and drunken merriment, this autumn beer bruhaha is aimed solely at fun. And, no worries, if you have kids in tow, many Oktoberfests are either family-friendly or have hours open to all ages.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
You don't have to go far to find a little slice of Germany - Joint Base Lewis McChord will host an all-day fest in the MWR Fest Tent on Oct. 3. One of the largest celebrations in the South Sound, this Oktoberfest will have live music, a costume contest, and more. Games for young and old include a keg toss and stein hoist competitions for adults, and foam sword fights and a climbing wall for kids. Families are welcome, but only 21 and older can buy or drink alcohol. Best of all - admission is free!

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Oktoberfest Northwest
If what you seek is a big German party, Oktoberfest Northwest is the place to be. From Oct. 9-11, Oktoberfest will fill the spaces of the Washington State Fair Event Center with entertainment and food galore. Entertainment includes polka bands, Bavarian folk dance and Manuela Horn - a seven-foot-tall Austrian yodeler, dancer and actress. Games include hammerschlagen and a stein dash. Until 7 p.m., Oktoberfest Northwest is all ages. After 7 p.m, be prepared to present your I.D.

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Fish Brewing
While it's tough to top JBLM and Oktoberfest Northwest in terms of size, perhaps you don't want to party down with a huge group. In that case, look to area brewers, who are set to welcome you in with music, special menus, and beer as far as the eye can see. Enter Fish Brewing in Olympia. On Sept. 26 at 4 p.m., the Mona Reels and The Brown Edition will take to the stage for the evening. The menu skews toward meat-eater-ville with smoked chicken, beef ribs, pulled pork and brats for $10 per plate. Of course, what's Oktoberfest without brews. Fish will serve up oak-aged Oktoberfest, whiskey barrel-aged saison, pumpkin cider and American-style barley wine. Entry is $20 and you'll bet a 14-ounce mug and three fills (more available for purchase if that's just not enough). Corn hole and giant Jenga will keep the drunken masses entertained. No kids.

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Narrows Brewing
September 19 from 5 to 11 p.m., Narrows Brewing perched on tiny Day Island will hold its annual Oktoberfest! Brews on tap will be: Channary Imperial Red Ale, Area 13 Experimental Imperial IPA and Diver Down. But let's face it. We'll all be there for the Oktoberfest with its German-style lager leanings. If you'd like to burn some calories ahead of your imbibing, start the day at 2 p.m. with Paddle and Pints, which is hosted by the brewery and will take you on a kayak paddling adventure along the University Place shoreline.

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Tacoma's Swiss will also jump into the Oktoberfest fray with a party Sept. 26. Starting at 7 p.m., The Fabulous Bert Carlson Band will provide live music throughout the evening. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for ages 7-17, and kids 6 and younger are free. If you want to enjoy dinner, too, be there at 6 p.m.!

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