Oktoberfest, which originated in Munich in 1810, has become the world’s largest beer party. It even has its own signature beer style. Last year in Munich, attendees quaffed 5.6 million liters of strong locally-made Oktoberfest lager – and those numbers were down due to rainy weather over the 18-day festival, according to the website, Oktoberfest.de.

Then there are all of the Oktoberfests throughout Europe and the Americas, also mostly built around beer. This year, at least a half-dozen events are scheduled in cities around Alabama. Breweries around the state also release special beers, variations on the official brews of Munich’s fest bier.

Alabama’s Oktoberfests often include elements of a typical fall festival – only with really good beer. Most feature carnival rides, a kids’ zone, musical performances, fun food, and oddities like races involving dachshunds and Stein-hoisting contests.

The funny thing is, very little of Oktoberfest actually takes place in the month of October. Munich’s Oktoberfest officially lasts three weekends and generally ends the first Sunday in October – but is extended if German Unity Day (which marks reunification) falls after that weekend. That’s the case this year. Oktoberfest starts Saturday, September 16, with the ceremonial keg-tapping by Munich’s mayor, and it ends Tuesday, October 3.

But there’s nothing wrong with keeping the barrels rolling throughout the rest of October, especially in a state where college football rules. Check out these Oktoberfest gatherings around Alabama. Lederhosen and Tyrolean hats are optional.

(Louis Hansel/Unsplash)

Redstone Arsenal Oktoberfest (Huntsville)

September 15-17

Base family and MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) organizations host the 26th yearly celebration with food, carnival rides, and musical performances. Admission and parking are $15; $25 to add unlimited rides. Festival hours are 5 p.m. – midnight Friday, noon until midnight Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday. The Biergarten will dispense some 60 regional beers and ciders. It’s open Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Separate admission, $35 for each session, is required for the Biergarten. It’s all cash-only; no cards.

Auburn’s Oktoberfest

September 22-23

Billing itself as the “South’s favorite craft beer festival,” some four dozen local, regional, national, and international breweries are pouring samples from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friday, and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday. Along Homebrew Alley, attendees can vote for their favorite sippers. The festival at Auburn University’s Ag Heritage Park, organized by Ithaka Hospitality Partners, has been held since 2008. Musical performers include the War Damn Polka Band and Norris Jones’ Soul Band. In addition to dachshund races and stein-hoisting, do the chicken dance, play games, and eat food-truck fare. Ticket packages range from $25 to $125. The football Tigers are on the road that day.

Cullman Oktoberfest

September 28-30

Founded in 1873, Cullman was settled by German immigrants, but the city’s Oktoberfest traces only to 1982. And at first, it was root beer that was ceremonially tapped in Cullman, which was dry until 2010. This year, the city fest’s Hofbrau Biergarten features brews from Germany and Cullman’s Goat Island Brewing Co. But that’s done little to change the family-friendly nature of the street party, which includes a kids’ contests, street entertainers, parades, food trucks, and a candlelight walking tour at Cullman Depot. The fun includes contests for Miss Oktoberfest, costumes, and brat-eating. Saturday starts with 5k and 10k human races (registration required) but the day soon goes to the dogs with OktoFURfest’s pooch parade, wiener dog race, and doggie costume contest.

(Tatiana Rodriguez/Unsplash)

St Florian Oktoberfest

October 6-7

The tiny Lauderdale County town was founded in the early 1870s by German-Catholic immigrants; the first church building and parsonage for Saint Michael’s Catholic Church opened in 1872. The first St Florian Oktoberfests, which started in 2002, were held at the church. Now the party, set for 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. this year, is next door at the community park. More than 70 vendors have signed up, and grill masters will barbecue chicken, pork butt, and ribs in a cookoff with cash prizes. The annual car show includes tractors.

Moody Oktoberfest

October 7

Hosted by the Moody Chamber of Commerce, the city’s 20th Oktoberfest will be held from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Moody City Park. In addition to a car show, there will be arts and crafts vendors, a children’s fun area, livestock, cheerleaders, and the Moody band. No mention of beer on its social media or advertisements.

Tuscaloosa Oktoberfest

October 28

It’s a bye week for the Alabama Crimson Tide but you can tailgate Munich-style at Tuscaloosa’s Oktoberfest. It starts with a 5k run benefitting the American Cancer Society. The festival at Druid City Social starts at 11 a.m. with a ceremonial keg-tapping and features music by the Oompah-Calypse German band and others. The beer and the food both are German-inspired. The fun is fairly family-oriented. The event ends at 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 (children 12 and under are free); VIP admission is $75.