Although you can enjoy German sausages and beer all year round in Colombia thanks to a multitude of restaurants, food vendors, breweries and bars, there is always something special to smash into a brat. and drink a liter in a true Oktoberfest celebration. Stemming from deep Midland German roots in the Dutch Fork and Newberry areas and spurred by the commodification of the traditional Cinco de Mayo party, there’s no shortage of party tent-worthy popping up across Gran Colombia and beyond. late September and early October.
Which event should you choose to attend? It all depends on how hungry, thirsty or willing you are to do the chicken dance.
party in the neighborhood
Oktoberfest Columbia at Incarnation Lutheran Church – October 11-13
Go if… You want to dance your polka.
Columbia’s largest annual Oktoberfest does everything big, offering more than 20 traditional German and American craft beers in commemorative one-liter mugs, massive plates of jagerschnitzel and an auditorium-sized family dance tent that gives kids and adults a chance to do the Chicken Dance to live polka numbers several times a day in a judgment-free zone. Plan to arrive early or stay late, as lines for beer and food can be long during peak hours.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
3005 Devine Street, free; 803-256-2381, oktoberfestcolumbia.com
Mount Tabor Lutheran Church — Saturday, September 21
Go if… You prefer a casual neighborhood affair.
Nestled discreetly in the Avenues of West Columbia, Mt. Tabor Lutheran is a true neighborhood church. In the spirit of Oktoberfest, they invite neighbors near and far to join them for a day of celebration, with food from local sausage heroes The Wurst Wagen and German beers available for purchase. Note that the festival is not located on the church grounds, but nearby at 728 Meeting St. On-site parking will be limited, but additional parking will be available a short walk away at 626 Meeting St.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
728 Meeting Street, free; 803-796-5948,
Drink a blond beer to the source
Columbia Craft – Saturday, October 5
Go if… Your ideal beer is served by the litre.
Columbia Craft came out the door serving an eponymous rock-solid lager in traditional one-liter steins when it opened in 2017, foreshadowing the brewery’s affinity for German-style beers. With its second Oktoberfest, it is rolling out a seasonal Festbier alongside an array of other lager styles to accompany the German fare of The Wurst Wagen and the polka music of Route 161 Happy Wanderers. Prepare to brave the elements, as limited space at the brewery means this event will take place on the outdoor terrace and parking lot.
Noon to 10 p.m.
520 Greene Street, free; 803-799-6027, columbiacraft.com
River Rat Brewery – Saturday September 21
Go if… You need a beer while the kids are running.
Although it was Columbia’s second full-production brewery, River Rat was the first to bring German-style beers to the region with its flagship American Kolsch Story. The brewery has just released its seasonal Marzen in time for Oktoberfest, which will pour alongside other highly extinguishing lager offerings like Bohemian Pilsner and Luminescent Lager. Newly hired chef Jon Cooper will pull out all the stops with a menu of German cuisine that includes several types of wurst, schnitzel on a stick, and leberkase sliders.
Noon to 8 p.m.
1231 Shop Road, free; 803-724-5712, riverratbrewery.com
Bierkeller Columbia — Date TBD
Go if… Tradition and taste are paramount.
Although it has hosted Oktoberfest events in the past, Bierkeller Columbia has opted out of this year’s festivities. Instead, owner Scott Burgess has set his sights on hosting a Bockbieranstich – a ceremonial tapping of the brand’s next Bockbier – under his newly acquired Festzelt tents at Swamp Cabbage Brewery, where the nomadic brewing company make their beer. Although a date has yet to be announced, the traditional Franconian party plans to pair the 6.5% ABV Pale Bockbier with the appropriate paraphernalia, including live music, roast chickens on the grill and even a goat (“bock” in German) petting zoo. But if you’re thirsty for Bierkeller beers and hungry for Wurst Wagen sausages now, Bierkeller will restart its popular Riverfront Park biergartens (312 Laurel St.) on Tuesday, September 24, settling in every Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. through November. . 19, as well as some Saturdays in November and December.
921 Brookwood Drive; 803-338-1599, bierkellercolumbia.com
Take a day trip
Newberry Oktoberfest – Saturday October 5th
Go if… The whole family needs a day.
With a rich history of German settlement in the area, the town of Newberry pulls out all the stops for its annual Oktoberfest, lining several blocks in the heart of downtown with beer garden tables, food and craft tents and polka bands. The Kindertown kids’ zone offers rides, a climbing wall and inflatable slides, so the little ones should have no problem keeping busy while you enjoy a beer. Come dressed in your lederhosen, if that’s your belief, because there is a competition for the best dress that will certainly be very competitive.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Downtown Newberry, SC, free; newberryoktoberfest.com
Helen, Georgia – Sept. 26-Oct. 27
Go if… You can’t fly to Bavaria, but you want the next best thing.
The slogan of the town of Helen is: “It’s the charm of Bavaria, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains”, and for good reason. A former logging town, it reinvented itself as a replica of the Bavarian Alpine village in the late 1960s, completely remodeling the buildings in the town center into a chalet style with exposed beams and white exteriors. As the town celebrates its 49th annual Oktoberfest, expect a fully immersive experience, with locals dressed in traditional German attire and an unlimited supply of beer, wurst and schnitzel.
$10 (free on Sundays; children under six free); 706-878-1619, helenchamber.com