Even though the *actual* Oktoberfest is just about to end, you still have a full weekend to participate in the annual harvest season tradition right here at home before it’s all said and done.
I consider myself lucky having a good friend who lives in Munich (oops..I mean München!), as he is the sole reason I’ve got an Oktoberfest streak going of 6 years running! But even after I return home with a well-exercised liver, I still like to buck up and partake in the Chicago celebrations because what it all boils down to is this: the great food, plus..well, yeah..the great beer, but most importantly the good times. And those good times are summed up in the one single German word of “gemütlichkeit”.
Here are two locations, one north and one south, where you can sway to the festive tunes, raise your ‘mass’ and bellow from the bottom of your lungs a hearty “Prost!”
Taking over the home of the Chicago Fire for three days (Fri-Sun), the Southside version of der Wiesn features free admission and parking! The food and music go without saying, but just like the real one in Munich there’s also a carnival area with rides, etc. (which carries an extra charge of $15).
Saturday and Sunday: 1PM-11
St. Benedict’s Parish in North Center has been holding down Oktoberfest celebrations since 1966, true to their heritage as a German-rooted church. It takes place Saturday and Sunday and in addition to the food, beer and live music they feature raffles, games, a teen area, kids attractions and an area with screens so you won’t miss any Bears action on Sunday.
So, you’re all set to dive into the annual Bavarian tradition, except that you’re going to need to memorize just one thing. Don’t worry, there’s only 4 words to learn, and this youtube video makes it easy with a “follow the bouncing pretzel” format…and you just can’t properly do Oktoberfest without it: