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Beer and Brats, Bavarian Style: 2014 New Orleans Oktoberfest

Although a swig of cold, crisp beer feels right any time of year, it’s even more fitting in October. Pints might accompany us to the Voodoo Experience or Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, sure, but for an authentic Oktoberfest celebration, head to Kenner, where Deutsches Haus puts on a German heritage event spanning three weekends starting Oct. 10.

Oktoberfest Nola
A thirsty visitor fills his stein at the Oktoberfest event in Kenner. (photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Located about 30 minutes outside New Orleans proper, Kenner boasts a quieter atmosphere and its own robust arts and culture scene; visitors should work in extra time to peruse the quaint shops lining the Rivertown historic district. Oktoberfest features several activities including an ongoing beer-stein-holding contest and seven Bavarian bands, but a few must-dos are detailed below.

Friday, October 10

Kenner Mayor Michael Yenni taps the inaugural keg to the folky sounds of Yodel Blitz. What will it contain, exactly? Our bets are on the Warsteiner Oktoberfest/Marzen, which offers a “festive taste experience.”

The first weekend is also a good opportunity to find a favorite brew. Those looking to hunker down in Oktoberfest traditions will love the Kostritzer gibt Momenten Seele – a pragmatic mix of deep, dark color and sparkling notes we can imagine Goethe enjoying (allegedly, he was a fan of this centuries-old black lager). Other highlights on the list include the Bitburger Pilsner and Paulaner Hefe-Veisen.

The festival also features traditional German cuisine including hearty bratwurst and comforting sides like red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

Saturday, October 18

If empty calories are your concern, the Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk is the perfect opportunity to exercise the guilt away. After the race, participants will receive drink tickets for two beers and free Oktoberfest entry all three weekends with their race number.

Sponsored by The New Orleans Track Club, the race starts at 5 p.m. with the ability to register either online, by mail, or even on race day.

Saturday, October 25

During the finale weekend, the only thing we’re looking forward to more than pork schnitzel with mushroom sauce is the Dachshund Races. Each category is more adorable than the next: the all-inclusive event includes divisions for puppies, adults, seniors and even wheelchair-bound hounds.

The race will benefit NOLA Dachshund Rescue, and if they decide to actually run, winners will receive a $25 gift card and toy basket.

Visit the official 2014 Oktoberfest website for a complete list of activities.

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