Why Frankenmuth’s Oktoberfest is second to none (except Bavaria’s)

by K.M. Zahrt

My wife, Katie, and I live in Flint, Michigan, with our Newfoundland, Marjie. To kick off the Fall Michiganders Post Series, here is one of our favorite fall activities for our area:

Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth (autocorrect wants to change to Frankenstein), Michigan

Many people think of Christmas when they think of Frankenmuth thanks to Bronner’s, but there are many reasons to visit Frankenmuth all year, especially in the fall. One of the best reasons to visit is for Oktoberfest. The Frankemuth Oktoberfest is happening right now, September 19-22. At the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest you can get “A Taste of the German Life” for only $8, and — AND — you can ride a llama, for God’s sake!

The wife, the dog, and I went last night. Frankie, man’s best friend, will greet you on your way into town. Be sure to stop by and say hi!

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But seriously, beer and llama rides aside, here is some history that makes Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth the best (after Bavaria). A sign in the town square titled “Michigan’s German Settlers” reads: “Fifteen German immigrants from Franconia, Bavaria, led by the Rev. August Craemer, founded Frankenmuth in 1845. They were advised to settle here by the Rev. Frederick Schmid, Lutheran pastor of Ann Arbor’s German colony founded in the 1820’s. Other German agricultural villages were founded in the Saginaw Valley in the 1840’s and 50’s. Here, as in many other areas of Michigan, German settlers have contributed greatly to the state’s cultural heritage.” Which, I would add, would include the Zahrt family. Wir sind Deutschlanders und Michiganders. Das Beste aus beiden Welten!

In recognition of this strong German heritage, “In 1996, Lord Mayor Christian Ude of Germany officially sanctioned the Frankenmuth Octoberfest celebration, making it the only city outside of Munich to receive such an honor” (The Frankenmuth Oktoberfest).

Therefore, one could argue — and Michiganders certainly should — that there is no better place in the country, nay the world (outside of Bavaria) to experience Oktoberfest.

Take part in the Fall Michiganders Post Series and share your favorite fall activities from your stitch of the mitten!

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