Oktoberfest originated in 1810 (running from September into October) in Bavaria, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. Today, throughout Missouri, the festival generally celebrates the harvest and the beginning of autumn. These family friendly events usually include, among many other activities: wine and beer tasting and sales; German (and other) foods; various games; winery tours; activities for kids; and live music (German and other types). Here is just a sampling:
> Oktoberfest in Old Munichburg kicks off the season in Jefferson City, Sep. 26-27, 2014. German meals are served on Friday, followed by dancing in the street with the Loehnig Family German Band. The event includes a costume contest, Mid-Mo Old Car Club show and Missouri’s largest Dachshund Derby.
> Every Friday and Saturday in October, Stone Hill Winery in Hermann holds a big Stone Hill Oktoberfest party. The highlights are German food and dancing to traditional Old World music. The Vintage Restaurant serves a special Oktoberfest menu.
> Oktoberfest Joplin, Oct. 3-4, 2014, is a street festival on Route 66, with six blocks of fun for kids, adults and families. Enter the hotdog and bratwurst eating contests, the beer-stein holding competition, the pet costume and German costume contests.
> The Jaycee Oktoberfest in Sikeston, Oct. 4, 2014, is where you get huge, soft pretzels and bratsIn Walnut Grove, 25 miles north of Springfield, October Fest at 7C's Winery is held Oct. 12, 2014. In a break from tradition, food is available from Not'cho Ordinary Taco. Test your skills in the stick-horse races and the boot toss.
Oktoberfest isn’t the only reason to have a party in October. Fall festivals, with wine and food, can be found across the Show-Me State. For example:
- Monroe City Taste of Fall, Oct. 4, 2014, brings several wineries and breweries to town, plus a lot of yummy foods. Plates and glasses are provided.
- Fork & Cork Festival in Macon, Oct. 4, 2014, includes a fun-run/walk, arts and crafts, wine, beer and lots of tasty food choices.
- Jowler Creek Winery in Platte City has a long schedule of events year-round. Their Jowler Creek Fall Festival, Oct. 11, 2014, has games, a bonfire, mulled wine, s’mores, and festive music.
Not all October festivals revolve around wine, but almost all offer live music, artisans, food and lots of family activities. There are hundreds; here are a few of note:
At Poplar Bluff’s Art on the Run Festival you can take part in the 1-mile and 10k races, and scrutinize the art and craft booths.
The Arcadia Valley Fall Mountain Music Festival around Ironton’s town square, Oct. 17-19, 2014, is home to horse-drawn carriage rides and the oldest continuing parade in Missouri – 86 years and counting.
Oct. 18, 2014, Ash Grove’s Backroads to Main Street Heritage Festival presents a 1920s and 1930s setting of flappers and flivvers, where you can mingle with the likes of Civil War Bushwhackers and Jayhawkers, outlaws and gangsters, horse thieves in a shoot-out, bank robbers, and a few good men – U.S. presidents and others.
Perhaps the most famous October festival in Missouri is Kimmswick's Apple Butter Festival, held throughout town, Oct. 25-26, 2014. Stroll streets lined with 500-600 food, drink and craft vendors; listen to lots of live entertainment, including bluegrass and dulcimer music; and never forget the freshly made apple butter, for sale until the last jar is gone.
So there is no reason to stay home this October. Get out there and have a great day in Missouri. Find the perfect angle, snap the perfect photo and share your fun on our VisitMO Facebook page.