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Raise a Beer Stein to Oktoberfest 2012 Near Lake Zurich

Get your lederhosen out—Oktoberfest is here!

Before Halloween is here, there’s another not-so-spooky way to celebrate the fall: the German holiday of Oktoberfest!

While you're looking forward to dressing up in a costume and nearly getting a cavity from the candy intake, you can don knee socks and feast on bratwursts and beer.

In its native Bavaria, Germany, Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated for 16 days, and this year the fun goes from Sept. 22—Oct. 7. It is one of the most spirited celebrations in Germany, and is a huge part of Bavarian culture.

The first Oktoberfest was in 1810, as part of Crown Prince Ludwig’s wedding festivities, and has continued ever since.

Oktoberfest at The Village Tavern in Long Grove began Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 14. An Oktoberfest beer tent, hayrides, plus German music, dance and culture make this a true Oktoberfest must-visit destination.

Long Grove holds its OktoberFest on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14. The day starts at 10 a.m. with an old fashioned parade through the center of town. Enjoy live entertainment, including folk dancing and a variety of German bands. Experience the old-fashioned fun of a family hayride, pumpkin decorating and children’s activities. Stay for beer, brats, and traditional German food.

Vernon Hills holds the 8th annual Oktoberfest at the Vernon Hills Metra Station, Oct. 6. The festival includes lots of activities for kids and adults. 

Oktoberfest sends lots of Americans to the store to stock up on sausages and spirits during the celebration. Check out some native German recipes like sauerkraut and potato pancakes or unique beers during the 16-day celebration, they'll have your taste buds saying “danke schön”! You can also try your hand at grilled bratwurst with German potato salad. Finishing off the meal with a German apple strudel is also sure to be a crowd pleaser.

And of course, you can’t say auf wiedersehen to Oktoberfest without a proper polka. Here are some polka dance moves and a tutorial that will make you the toast of the celebration.

Glückliches Oktoberfest!

TELL US: How are you going to celebrate Oktoberfest? Do you have any favorite Oktoberfest foods? 

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