Culture Writer: German-American Heritage Month

It’s fun being a German-American culture writer, especially in October! I love writing about our traditions during this festive time of year. In honor of German-American Heritage Month, I’m reposting an article I wrote for Katy Lifestyles & Homes back in 2012. Enjoy!
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As a German-American culture writer, it was fun putting together this Texas-centric feature.

Wie Geht’s! It’s Oktoberfest!

By Melanie Saxton

In a state boasting approximately 2.5 million citizens who claim a Germanic heritage, it’s no wonder Oktoberfest is a much-loved annual event. In Germany, the celebrations have already kicked off as of Saturday, Sept. 22 (and so have many local events). But Texans are also celebrating near and far all throughout October and beyond.

One of the most robust Alpine celebrations is the annual Galveston Island Oktoberfest. This year marks a 31st anniversary, presented by the First Lutheran Church of Galveston on Friday, Oct. 26 (5 – 11 p.m.) and Saturday, Oct. 27 (11 a.m.-11 p.m.). This year is an expanded version that takes place in historic downtown Galveston featuring a “family fun” weekend of music, authentic German food, libations, shopping, auction, and raffle. Check out galvestonoktoberfest. com.

October 6 kicks off the Texas Renaissance Festival, the first week themed in Oktoberfest style. A Polka Dancing Contest, Bavarian Stein Holding Contest, and Bratwurst Eating Contest await partiers in Plantersville. It’s the 38th season of this six-week trip back to the 16th century featuring over 200 daily performances, 300 arts and crafts shops, 60 food and beverage shops, nightly fireworks, and more than 3,000 costumed characters strolling the grounds. See for directions.

Since 1961, and always beginning the Friday before the first Monday in November, Wurstfest in New Braunfels gives the ultimate 10-day “salute to sausage” and draws more than 100,000 visitors, some wearing suspenders and Bavarian hats. Rich in German culture, cuisine, and the finest in Alpine-style entertainment, the festivities start Nov. 2 and end Nov. 11.

Thousands upon thousands in the greater Houston metroplex pack the kids and head for adventures in cities famed for their Oktoberfest celebrations.

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest: Gemütlichkeit! This traditional Oktoberfest is celebrated at Texas’ most famous German settlement with plenty of authentic Deutsch food, music, artisans, and entertainment. It’s scheduled for Oct. 5-7. See

Beethoven Halle Oktoberfest: Held at San Antonio’s Beethoven Halle und Garten, this traditional German celebration has a full complement of food, music, drink, dance, and entertainment. It is scheduled for Oct. 5-6. Get more details at beethovenmaennerchor. com.

Lancaster Oktoberfest: An authentic Bier Garten atmosphere with German food, custom-brewed beer, and root beer on tap. Live music, dance troupes, and an official keg tapping ceremony benefits the Lancaster Historical Society, the historic MKT Depot, and the Memorial Rose Garden. Scheduled for the second Saturday in October. See for additional details.

Southlake Oktoberfest: This 11th annual event is slated for Oct. 5-7 at Southlake Town Square. Nearly 50,000 people visit throughout the weekend, thanks to the famous Wiener Dog Races (sign up your dog) and the children’s area. A wide range of food, beverages, and booths awaits. See oktoberfestsouthlake. com for more.

Lake Highlands Oktoberfest: Oompah! The 2nd annual Lake Highlands Oktoberfest kicks off Oct. 6 at the Lake Highlands Town Center. Live music, a biergarten, culinary delights, and fun for kids awaits. For directions, visit

Count on local eateries and bars for authentic German cuisine, year-round. These establishments often celebrate Oktoberfest in ways that please the most discerning taste buds.

•German Deli: German food shipped to the US, Canada, and APOs.

•Bar Munich: German cuisine.

•Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunder Bar: In Montgomery.

•Hans’ Bierhaus: A friendly oasis in the middle of the city.

•Rudi Lechner’s Restaurant & Bar: A taste of German heritage.

•Roland’s Swiss Pastry and Bakery: Can cater imported specialties from Europe and hard-to-find European meats and sausages.

•Charivari: Home of European Cuisine.

Ever wonder where those German outfits come from? Or where to meet German friends? Or where to partake of German music? Here’s a small directory of interesting German places and things that may help connect you to your German roots:

Germany in Houston: Everything from movies to the arts. Also a vibrant media section with news about Germany and how Germany sees the world.

Leipzig: An active organization promoting a cordial relationship between Leipzig, Germany and Houston, Texas. Monthly programs: music, art, general interest, and movies, all related to Germany. Travel in both directions. Discussions about mutual interests and concerns, in a relaxed and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Bach Society Houston: Exemplary, historically-informed professional performances of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors.

German Gift House: For a world of German treasures from crunchy gherkins to figurines.


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