Oktoberfest barrels into Central Fla.
If attending Oktoberfest is a dream of yours but a long trip to Germany is not, put on your lederhosen and take a short drive through Central Florida to experience the fun first-hand.
Oktoberfest, a world-famous German festival, has seen many imitations over here in the states, and Central Florida is no exception. Downtown Sanford, Casselberry and Avalon Park are just a few of the popular places where UCF students will be able to guzzle beer and learn some traditional German folk dancing.
The Historic Sanford Welcome Center throws a recurring monthly street festival known as Alive After 5, and this month's theme is Oktoberfest.
The street festival will be held on Oct. 9 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will take place in Downtown Sanford on East First Street, where attendees can purchase a wristband for $7 to sample food and beverages from approximately 70 vendors.
"We want those who attend our Alive After 5 Oktoberfest to come out and enjoy the food, artists and vendors," said Maguire Wise, Historic Sanford Welcome Center event director. "Our mission is to market Sanford as an arts, culture, recreation and historic destination."
The festival will live up to its German counterpart by serving homemade spätzle and zigeuner hähnchen. For those not in the know, this is a hearty grilled chicken breast, sautéed with a paprika sauce and mixed with peppers and onions
If the authentic German food isn't enough to put your Oktoberfest gears in drive, German music by The Alpiners featuring Jimmy & Eckhard will have you dancing like a Deutschland native.
For those who might not be well-versed in traditional German dancers, the Schuhplattler Gruppe Alpenrose dancers will be preforming at the festival as well and will be able to show festivalgoers what traditional dancing looks like.
But if Sanford isn't your style, Casselberry also has some Oktoberfest festivities.
Orlando's Most Authentic Oktoberfest, put on by the Oktoberfest festivities of the German-American Society of Central Florida, starts on Oct. 25 at 381 Orange Lane in Casselberry.
Similar to the street festival being held in Sanford, the fair will have authentic German food and live music featuring Sonnenschein Express, Europa Band, Jess -n- Joan and Sounds of the South.
Audrey Chen, a mental health counseling graduate student who plans to attend the Casselberry event, said many aspects of the event are right up her alley.
"My favorite part would have to be the authentic German food because I love trying new things, and, of course, the German beer," Chen said.
The festival boasts a flag parade and folk dancing, as well as a stein-holding contest where you can test your strength and love for beer by holding up a liter of beer at arm's length for as long as physically possible. The festival is open to the public with a $5 entrance donation and free admission for children 12 and under.
But who said Oktoberfest has to last one day?
Over in Avalon Park is a two-day Oktoberfest festival being held on Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, offering traditional German food and frosty beer. Like its Casselberry counterpart, this festival will also be featuring the nationally touring Europa Band.
The first night of the event will feature a large Beer Garden in the Town Park, and the following day all of Avalon will be getting its polka on along with the Alpenrose dancers in celebration of Oktoberfest.
Mallory Winstead, a senior humanities major, knows exactly what she wants in an Oktoberfest event and said this festival delivers it all.
"It has an amazing beer selection, costumes, festive music and really makes you feel like you're in Germany," Winstead said.
With all of the Oktoberfest festivities this coming month, pumpkin-spice lattes and scarves aren't the only things to look forward to this fall.