5 Reasons To Not Miss Oktoberfest
Here are some words to live by: "In heaven there is no beer. That's why we drink it here. And, when we're gone from here, our friends will be drinking all the beer."
These are popular lyrics to the "No Beer Polka," which you'll hear a lot at the Cleveland Labor Day Weekend Oktoberfest. It's also a bit of mantra for the event happening at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds Aug. 29 - Sept. 1.
Without further ado, here are fünf reasons why you absolutely cannot miss this yearly tradition:
Yes, you read that correctly. We said "Weiner Dog Races." And, the crazy image you've got in your head right now is probably spot on.
Locals who own dachshunds sign up their dogs to compete in the races, which happen every day at Oktoberfest.
It's pretty common knowledge that these little dogs aren't known for their agility and speed. So, as you might imagine, the races tend to be wild, hilarious and, frankly, really cute.
According to event organizers, "When we talk about someone who can't hold their beer, we're not referring to their tolerance...we're talking about Paulaner's Masskrug Contest."
Massk-what? It's an event in which competitors hold a filled beer stein - arm stretched out in front of the body and parallel to the ground - for as long as possible.
The contests happen every day at the event, so there are plenty of opportunities to watch or compete (you know you want to).
Knackwurst, bratwurst, weinerschnitzel, goulash, pierogi. It's not all German, but it's 100 percent Cleveland and all available at Oktoberfest.
Snap into a sausage from Frank's Bratwurst, gorge yourself on sauerkraut laden knackwurst from Der Braumeister, sink your teeth into hot potato pancakes from Seven Roses and fall in love with the chicken paprikash and spaetzle from Balaton.
If Eastern European fare doesn't float your boat, Cleveland's Labor Day Oktoberfest offers up plenty of traditional fair food, too.
Did you know that Cleveland actually has its very own style of polka music? Wild, right? We even have an entire museum dedicated to its existence.
That being said, it would be practically illegal to host an Oktoberfest in Cleveland that isn't jam-packed with oompah music throughout several stages. And, don't be surprised if this suddenly happens along the midway.
Head to the Traditional Music Tent to hear the old-school polka sounds from Cleveland's legendary Fred Ziwich, as well as other lederhosen-wearing-accordian-playing crooners.
Or, test out a younger polka ensemble like the Chardon Polka Band, who belts out everything from Frankie Yankovic to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber - all with a polka beat (we're not kidding).
If there's just not enough beer in the world to make you love polka, that's okay. Cleveland's Oktoberfest will feature a number of non-polka bands ranging from an 80's group called the Spazmatics to a Springsteen cover band known as Stone Pony.
Without a doubt, the star of the show is the one, the only: Beer. To honor our fellow Germans, we'll just call it "bier."
Paulaner, a German brewer committed to celebrating the country's rich brewing heritage, sponsors the festival. While there will be six Paulaner bier blends available, be sure to enjoy one of their two unique Oktoberfest blends - Marzen and Wiesn, [May we also suggest you drink it out of an available boot-shaped stein?]
Looking for more of a local edge? Cleveland's Labor Day Oktoberfest hosts its very own microbrew competition between local breweries for awards in several categories including best Oktoberfest-style brews.
If you head over to the festival's International Beer Garden, you have your pick of more than 10 brews from international countries like Poland, Scotland, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Mexico.
There's so much more. Check out the Cleveland Labor Day Weekend Oktoberfest online at http://clevelandoktoberfest.com.