Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri September 09 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | September 9, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Chicago’s Oktoberfest Festivities

    Chicago’s Oktoberfest Festivities

    Photo courtesy of Berghoff Oktoberfest

    Crisp air and changing leaf colors signal fall in many places but in Chicago, the season isn’t official until hundreds of steins are sloshing with beer for the city’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations.

    As you’d expected in a city known for tall buildings, big pizza and high spirits, we don’t do one nice little fest but many, big extravaganzas across the city. Lots of locals honor their German heritage with dirndls and yodeling contests, but the focus is really on the food and beer, so consider these standout events for your Oktoberfest in Chicago:

    Berghoff Oktoberfest

    The city’s oldest and longest-running Oktoberfest is usually hosted by the landmark Berghoff Restaurant in downtown’s Federal Plaza but this year’s fest switches things up with Berghoff Oktoberfest inside the historic restaurant.

    Open since 1898 and run by the same family, the Berghoff is a Chicago institution that celebrates its German heritage on a large scale. During last year’s Oktoberfest, the eatery served 35,000 beers, 12,000 brats and 1,000 apple strudels.

    This year’s event includes month-long festivities from Sept. 8-Oct. 8. A special Oktoberfest menu features Oktoberfest fare including Berghoff beer flights, wiener schnitzel and sauerbraten (marinated sirloin beef). On Sept. 8 at 5 p.m., Berghoff Oktoberfest officially kicked off with O’zapt is (Bavarian meaning “it’s tapped”). The keg tapping was accompanied by live German music, free bar bites and seasonal, hand-crafted beer. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there is live Oktoberfest music with The Johnny Wagner Band, Bratwurst Brothers and more.

    READ MORE: Your Guide to Surviving Oktoberfest in Germany

    St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

    This weekend-long fest runs Sept. 23-25 and is the city’s most expansive, with a great lineup of bands, beer and brats. West Lakeview’s iconic St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church hosts Oktoberfest both inside and outside, with the highlight being craft beer tasting (complete with pretzel necklace) in the parish’s German Beer Hall.

    The 2016 Oktoberfest inaugurates the Brat Trot 5k on Thursday, Sept. 22 at Diversey Harbor. Enjoy a scenic run and then top it off with a beer and a brat. There’s also a Kinderfest from 11-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to entice the kiddies with arts and crafts, polka lessons, face painting and an inflatable obstacle course.

    Revolution Brewery Oktoberfest party

    An essential Chicago brewery, Revolution Brewery pours a toasty, malt Oktoberfest lager in honor of the holiday and pitches a tent in the back of the Kedzie brewery for serious liquid enjoyment on Sept. 23 and 24. Revolution Brewery Oktoberfest Party supplies eight different beers, live music and authentic German dishes like currywurst , bratwurst, sauerkraut and schweinshaxe (smoked pork hocks).  

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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