First and second weeks in October
Not surprisingly, the larger New Ulm Oktoberfest celebrations grab the attention. For more scaled-back festivities, attend the Holiday Inn’s party, which attracts about 4,000 folks for an old-fashioned fest with the local brew and festbiers from the fatherland. At the downtown event held simultaneously, show up the first weekend for German Heritage Weekend or the following one, which becomes more family-oriented and cozier at about 3,000 people. There are brats and beers to enjoy while listening to German bands play atop hay carts, but instead of kids doing the chicken dance, they might be inspired by the live penguins in the petting zoo to shake a different kind of tail feather.
Brian Yaeger is the author of Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey.