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From wiener dog races to beer stein-holding competitions, Cleveland's Labor Day Oktoberfest is one cray way to enjoy the long weekend. Lest we forget to mention there'll be lots (and lots and lots and lots) of beer. Add to that, knackwurst, bratwurst, weinerschnitzel, goulash and pierogi.
Cleveland has become just about as synonymous with beer as it has with rock ‘n’ roll, so it makes sense that the city has a pretty killer Oktoberfest. Every Labor Day Weekend, the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds turns itself into a giant German biergarten — there are dirndls and boot-shaped beer steins to prove it.
Good beer. German beer. Local beer. Just about everyone who’s ever combined barley, hops and yeast gets involved. There’s also a Best Microbrewery competition that allows you, the visitor, to taste some of the finest beers the Cleveland area has to offer and cast a vote for your favorite.
Oktoberfest also turns into a veritable one-stop shop for locals and visitors alike to sample the best German and Polish food around. Pierogi, weinerschnitzel, potato pancakes and sausages of every stripe are offered from just about every local restaurant that embraces the region’s Eastern European roots.
There is nothing quite like watching people in traditional German garb slapping their knees and boots in full folk dancing glory – all while pretending to be a giant cuckoo clock. This is the glockenspiel. This is Oktoberfest.
Once you’ve got your stein and you’ve stuffed yourself with bratwurst and schnitzel, wander over to the Five Star Wiener Dog Races for some of the purest fun this side of the Danube. Enjoy awesome live music from polka bands and dancers from around the world, as well as raucous local cover bands, a Strongman Competition and the crowning of the new Miss Oktoberfest.
The Cleveland Oktoberfest keeps the party going all Labor Day weekend at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Friday Aug. 30 from 4 p.m. to midnight, Saturday Aug. 31 and Sunday Sep. 1 from noon to midnight, and Monday Sep. 2 noon to 8 p.m. Parking is free and children under 12 are admitted free.
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Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds & Event Center | 19201 East Bagley Road Berea, OH, 44130
$ ($0 - $25)