Fall Guide

Ein Toast to Oktoberfest

Celebrating fall the German way


In Germany, Oktoberfest is a big deal. A really big deal. Think two weeks of eating, drinking, merriment and general revelry. In Rhode Island, the celebration isn’t quite on that scale, but it’s definitely worth checking out one (or all) of our Oktoberfest celebrations.

The state’s biggest Oktoberfest celebration is, by far, Newport International Oktoberfest. Head to the Newport Yachting Center on October 11 and 12 for a German festival unlike any other. Think tons of German and American food, live entertainment, a kids play area and an artisans marketplace. This year, there will be three biergartens, featuring a big selection of Oktoberfest and seasonal fall brews; bring your own stein and drink like the Germans do. Performances include Spitze!, a German-American dance troupe that performs modern and traditional numbers, and die Schlauberger, a traditional German band that encourages the audience to “expect the unexpected.” A word to attendees: Saturday tends to be the more crowded day, and has more of a party vibe. Sunday is a bit more relaxed, and is recommended for families with young kids who will be navigating the crowd with strollers, or for a more mature crowd. 4 Commercial Wharf, Newport. 846-1600.

In South County, there are two opportunities to celebrate like the Bavarians do: at Mews Tavern, and the Charlestown Rathskeller. At Mews Tavern (456 Main Street, Wakefield. 783-9370) the party lasts all fall. They offer 40 taps dedicated to unique Oktoberfest and pumpkin brews, and will have German food and entertainment in October. The Rathskeller (489A Old Coach Road, Charlestown. 792-1000), a hip restaurant dedicated to German culture, is celebrating on the weekend of October 4-5. On October 4, they will hold a 64 team cornhole tournament and have food, raffles and a lineup of four bands throughout the day. October 5, they will be doing a Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser as well as offering outdoor food, games and music.

Pawtucket also has its own Germanic tradition, which is celebrated all year long at the German American Cultural Society. The GACS has monthly Bratfest dinners, German language lessons for kids, and regular Polka events. The downstairs Ratskeller is one of the city’s hidden gems: cheap, delicious German food and beer, plus frequent live music. Every third Friday of the month, they serve Trachtenabend, a traditional German dinner prepared by a guest chef. Their annual Oktoberfest is a huge party with German food and entertainment - check their website to see what else they have planned this year. 78 Carter Avenue, Pawtucket. 726-9873.

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