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Image of performers at Cleveland Oktoberfest.

Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds plays host to the 10th Annual Cleveland Oktoberfest this Labor Day weekend.  It runs August 29th through September 1st, 2014.  Admission is $10 above the age of 12.  Parking is free.  Location: Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Rd Berea, OH 44017

This Oktoberfest is meant to be a family event.  Children 12 and under are free with plenty of family activities.  They have added kids foods such as pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, lemonade to the midway’s food vendor.

Kids Activities:

  • Frisch Marionette Company
  • gingerbread house building
  • sand castle building for kids
  • hay rides
  • mascot Otto the Wiener Dog
  • Inflatable bounce houses
  • arts & crafts
  • children’s chalk art
  • wiener dog races
Image of Frisch Marionette performance.

Frisch Marionette Company performs at Cleveland Oktoberfest.

Plenty of Adult Fun:

Oktoberfest and beer go hand in hand.  Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr are two of the big six Munich breweries.  Both are sponsors and well represented in the International Beer Garden.  Looking for a great meal then consider the Sausage Autobahn. 

Image of Paulaner beer stein.

Paulaner beer sponsors Cleveland Oktoberfest. photo www.flickr.com [peter baker]

Sample the various brews at the famous microbrew contest.  Enter the 5k Beer Run event.  Browse the Bavarian Shopping Village.  See the clock demonstration.  Watch the international dance exhibition.  Become amazed at the sidewalk chalk artists.

Great food is a stable at most Oktoberfests.  Cleveland brings out an international assortment of foods from around the region.  Enjoy foods from the Polish Kitchen, Schmidts, Der Braumeister, Heini’s Cheese Chalet, Michael’s Bakery, Frank’s Bratwurst, and Balaton (Hungarian Restaurant).

The beer list includes Hoffbrau Light, Hoffbrau Original, Sam Adams, Yuengling, Warsteiner Dunkel, and so many more. 

Image of mona lisa on sidewalk art.

Sidewalk art at Oktoberfest. photo at www.flickr.com [cp_thornton]

Bands and Music Entertainment:

The event has an on stage Glockenspiel clock.  The Schuhplatters of STV Bavaria liven up the crowd as they act out the clock scene.  One of the top German acts in the world.

There are too many bands playing the tents, midway, stages and beer gardens to mention them all.  Some of the top groups include Alex Meixner, the Klaberheads, Deutscher Musik Verein, Fred Ziwich & the International Sound Machine, the Cleveland Donauschwabische Blaskapelle, and Joe Wendel are but a few.

Activities get underway Friday at 4:00 pm, Saturday at noon, and Sunday at noon.  Everything runs until midnight all three nights.  Oh did I mention the Miss Oktoberfest contest, the fireworks display, and the tribute concert series featuring Beetles, Springsteen, Eagles, Bee Gees tribute bands.

Funtober continues to bring you information on more fun things to do as we countdown to Halloween.  Follow our blog series and pages to stay current.  We also have coast to coast information on Oktoberfests, and festivals.


Image of pine cone at Pine Cone Festival in Blue Jay, CA.

The Alpine Camp and Conference Center in Blue Jay, California is the new home to the 8th Annual Pine Cone Festival on October 11th, 2014.  Located near Lake Arrowhead this is the only pine cone festival I am aware of in the country.  It’s free and fun and even has Smokey the Bear making an appearance.

The festival continues to promote the San Bernardino Mountains natural environment.  It was started by citizens of the Rim Communities and simply out grew its previous location in Twin Peaks.

What Makes This Such A Special Event

  • Biggest Pine Cone Contest
  • Pine Cone Craft Contest
  • Pine Cone Olympics
  • Free Games
  • Artisans & Craft Vendors
  • Fun Fair Foods
  • Smokey the Bear
  • Ropes Course adventure
  • Climbing Wall

Pine Cone Contest

Enter to win part of $2500 in prize monies for their famous Pine Cone Contest.  The biggest Sugar Pine Cone based on length and the biggest Coulter Pine Cone based on weight will win the contestants up to $1250 each.  Last years “biggest” cone was 17-1/8 inches long and another that weighed 4 lbs. 8 oz.  The largest sugar pine ever submitted was over 23 inches long.

Craft Contest

What can you make with a pine cone?  Get involved in creating fun craft designs with your kids.  Volunteers are available to help you with ideas.  Make something humorous, beautiful, abstract, or natural.  Enter your creation in the contest for classes 6th grade and under, 7th through 12th grades, and adults.

Pine Cone Olympics

Children and adults of all ages compete for prizes in four categories each for males and females.  The events are Pine Cone Archery, Pine Cone Hoops Toss, and the Pine Cone Shot Put. 


Music and dancing takes place throughout the day.  Smokey the Bear makes a guest appearance to highlight the importance of forest fire prevention.  Volunteers will conduct presentations of fire safety, forest and wildlife information, and preserving our natural resources.  Games, food, and refreshments are available.

Alpine Camp & Conference Center

The home for this year’s event is well known for its mountain top conferences, summer camps, winter camps, ropes courses and mountain adventures.  It is one of the best facilities in California.  The event runs from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  Admission, parking, and shuttle service are all free.  The event is located at 415 Club House Dr., Blue Jay, CA 92317.

So if you are looking for a fun event this fall and going to be in the Los Angeles area ten take the drive out to Blue Jay on October 11th.  They seem to have a little something for everyone.  Lots of good food, live entertainment, vendor, fun exhibits, kid’s activities, pine cone contests, and games of skill for all ages.

Funtober continues our countdown to Halloween.  We are now only 68 days away.  Continue to follow our fun things to do blog series and our other pages on Oktoberfest, fall festivals, corn mazes, haunted houses, and so much more.

Image: flickr [waferboard]

Image of front of Hippodrom beer tent in Munich.

The tradition laden Oktoberfest in Munich has banned the celebrity favorite Hippodrom Beer Tent from the 2014 festival.  After 111 years the Hippodrom is out and their spot on the Teresienwiese (fairgrounds) has been taken by proprietor Siegfried Able’s “Marstall” tent. 

New Marstall beer tent takes Hippodrom’s spot at Oktoberfest.

Hippodrom was famous for its celebrity guests including Boris Becker, Wladimir Klitschko, Thomas Gottschalk and many others.  At 4200 seats it was one of the smaller “big” tents at Oktoberfest.  The “hip” attracted a certain type of party crowd and was famous throughout Europe.  Unfortunately its owner appears to have broken German tax laws and the tent was banned.  This was posted on the Hippodrom’s website:

  • “Dear Sir or Madam,
    2014 marks the end of a 111-year tradition. Unfortunately the HIPPODROM tent will no longer be represented at the Oktoberfest.   We would like to thank all of our longtime and loyal guests and staff who have helped making the HIPPODROM a special and popular institution at Munich’s Oktoberfest for the past 19 years.   The tradition of the HIPPODROM will continue at Munich’s Frühlingsfest (spring festival) held yearly on the Theresienwiese (www.hippodrom-fruehlingsfest.de).   We look forward to welcoming you at Munich’s Frühlingsfest,  your Family Krätz  with the entire Hippodrom team.”

The family of Able has operated a small venue on the fairgrounds.  Now with the absence of Hippodrom the Marstall is under construction for the September 20th opening of Oktoberfest.  Marstall is the old German word for the royal riding school.  The Oktoberfest is nothing if not traditional.  They stopped racing horses year ago.  However the original wedding festival, started in 1810, was celebrated with days of horse races. 

Image of Oktoberfest fairgrounds in Munich.

Oktoberfest fairgrounds in Munich.

The Marstall Beer Tent will have a horse type theme with 3200 indoor seats and a 1000 seat outdoor bier garden.  The showpiece of the tent is a carousel musician’s stage.  Music starts at noon with traditional Bavarian songs and the entire tent transforms around 6:30 pm to festive live party music.  Food service ranges from upscale cuisine with top class service to a traditional Bavarian menu.  Marstall will serve freshly poured beer, popular champagnes, and fine wines.

So 2014 finds us out with some old and in with some new at this year’s event.  Say goodbye to the Hippodrom.

Image of the former Hippodrom beer tent at Oktoberfest Munich.

Former Hippodrom beer tent at Oktoberfest.

Find out more Oktoberfest information at Funtober.  We have pages of information on the beer tents, beers, facts, weather, museums, theatres, songs, and so much more.  Read our “15 Tips to Enjoying Oktoberfest In Munich“.  We also have lots of information about Oktoberfest, fall festivals, and fun things to do in our blog series.

photo credits:
Image Flickr [abhijeet rane]
Image Flickr [sebastien launay]

Image of Jane's Addiction music group in concert.

Bayfest Music Festival is Alabama’s largest music festival every year.  Now celebrating its 20th year, the lineup of music artists for 2014 is outstanding.  Buy your advance weekend passes online for $60-80.  Get them early for this October 3-5, 2014 event as only 50,000 discounted advance passes are available.  Over 200,000 people will attend this once a year event in Mobile, Alabama.

Musicians perform live across 6 stages on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Bayfest offers music from every genre including country, classic rock, alternative, pop, rap, modern, and R&B.  One of the six stages will have exclusive gospel music and one stage is devoted to local talented artists.  The other 4 feature top music stars, legends and rising stars.

Bayfest Music Festival kicks off Friday at 6:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm.

Bayfest Friday Night Music Lineup

Friday night features Ludacris, Alabama, and Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington.  Other Friday performers includes AFI, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Thompson Square, Pop Evil, Roxy Roca, and Frankie Ballard among the day’s acts.

Image of Stone Temple Pilots in concert.

Stone Temple Pilots play Bayfest October 3-5, 2014

Bayfest Saturday Night Music Lineup

Saturday night features Jane’s Addiction, Ceelo Green, and Kid Rock .  Other Saturday performers includes Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, K Michelle, All That Remains, Amos Lee, Dennis Nelson, Startisan, Kristy Lee, K-Rob, and Cathercist among the day’s acts.

Image of musician Kid Rock play piano on a stage.

Kid Rock is amazing in concert.

Bayfest Sunday Music Lineup

Sunday closes with featured entertainers Brantley Gilbert, Foster the People, and Earth Wind & Fire.  Sunday daytime lineup includes MAGIC, Blackberry Smoke, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, The Mulligan Brothers, and CampFire among other Sunday music acts.

Image of Brantley Gilbert playing in concert.

Brantley Gilbert will headline Bayfest Music Festival October 5th.

We are down to 71 days on our countdown to Halloween series.  Our fun things to do blog continues bringing you top events and festivals between now and October 31st.  Keep coming back as we are posting at least one daily event now through Halloween.

 Image credit: flickr [Al Pavangkanan]
Image credit: flickr [joe loong]
Image credit: flickr [Jon Callas]

Image of Grand Canyon in Arizona.

As you know I do not live in Arizona.  I found this blog post title on a wonderful website called Celebrating Family written by Janice.  As a fall fanatic I could not resist bringing it to your attention.

I grew up in Ohio and after college lived in Michigan for the next 40 years.  While we generally didn’t get the really hot temperatures of Arizona there was always the summer humidity.  Maybe that is why I so love the changeover to fall.

Anyway I just liked her blog post she wrote back in 2011.  While I don’t want to steal it all there are a couple of “reasons” I especially liked.  I encourage you to read her post “Eight Reasons I Love Fall in the Desert“.

  • Lower high temperatures
  • The State Fair
  • Pumpkin patches and harvest festivals

I was a fan of the Ohio State Fair all through grade school, high school, and college in Columbus.  When I moved to Michigan, my family made our yearly trek to the Michigan State Fair which was only 15 minutes away.  So I am truly a state fair fan.  Love those elephant ears and carnival food.

Image of Ohio State Fair.

Ohio State Fair was so much fun.

If you get a chance I think you will like more of the food, crafts, and family on Janice’s website.

Sorry to those daily readers.  I have been updating our Oktoberfest listings on hundreds of our events.  We are just about up to date as the Oktoberfest season gets going we have accurate listings.  Hope you enjoy.  I will get back on track with our Fall Things To Do blog series.

Image www.flickr.com {grand canyon national park}
Image www.flickr.com {marada}

Image of harley davidson motorcycle at biker rally.

I just love Halloween parties especially when everyone is dressed up in their best costume.  Motorcycle riders from up and down the east cost frequently get together in Northumberland, Pennsylvania for something called PA Rally On The River.  It loots like a lot of fun, contests, bikers, chicks, and all types of motorcycles.  They meet at a resort and campground at 213 Aspen Lane.  Bikers just need to turn onto Shady Lane just off of Route 11.

Image of motorcycle at bike rally.

Bikers include doctors, lawyers, accountants and more. photo www.flickr.com [craig howell]

Halloween Costume Party

On October 24-26, 2014 it appears this groups of fun loving bikers is going to throw their first Halloween Costume Party.  Friday night is call “Freaky Friday” so you are encouraged to dress like the freak you are.  Saturday is their costume party. 

They are offering $100 to winners in the following categories:

  • Scariest
  • Most Revealing
  • Most Original
  • Best Couple

I don’t know about you but I can only imagine what types of costumes they will wear.  Besides the contest, the music is provided by Rumor Has It on Friday night and Jesse on Saturday night.

They also have a Sunday brunch meal for $10 which is all you can eat.  Saturday night they feature a $14 steak dinner.  All their prices are very reasonable for this type of event and party.

Admission to the party each night is $70.00 per couple.  Singles admitted for $20.

They have both camping sites and cabins available for rental.  Prices range from $60 to $125 for the weekend. 

Pennsylvania Rally on the River:

While a popular spot for bikers this is also a full resort.  They feature 2 large swimming pools, a Splash Park, hot tub, water slides, 41 cabins, RV rental, and camping facilities.  During bad weather they have covered outdoor entertainment.  Also a stage for bands and live events. 

I did notice they also bring their own tattoo artist to each rally.  Phat Joe’s Tattoos is always available.

Funtober keeps looking for more fun things to do.  As we countdown to Halloween there are lots of groups that hold special types of Halloween fun.  I thought this Halloween party by a group of bikers looked really special.  Bikers today are frequently doctors, lawyers, cops, accountants, and almost anyone.  Keep reading our blog series for more fun.

Image of sky lantern at Rise Festival

Fall Festival Fun or Dangerous Fire and Environmental Hazard?

Organizers are planning a RiSE Lantern Festival in the Mojave desert some 20 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is similar to the popular festival run in Thailand each year.  It will feature the release of hundreds of sky lanterns into the desert sky on October 18th, 2014.  Their websites says “RiSE elevates hope, ignites dreams, and creates memories you will never forget”.  The images are spectacular.

Tickets run from $50 to $109.  The festival includes shuttle service from and to the Gold Strike Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.  Each participant receives two sky lanterns and one ground torch to personalize and light your lanterns.  Featured festival music runs for about 75 minutes beginning at 6:15 pm.  The lantern launches are scheduled for about 75 minutes beginning at 7:30 pm.  Invite your friends as each lantern takes 2-3 people to launch. 

Watch this video to get a feeling for the beauty of these lanterns and this festival.

Such a Beautiful Event and Yet So Potentially Destructive

I can only imagine the spiritual journey the organizers talk about with their hopes, dreams, and goals.  I like many other people have some concerns.  Now I will give the organizers credit for making this as safe as possible.  After all it is held 20 miles deep in the desert at a secluded spot only accessible by shuttle service.  The lanterns are 100% biodegradable.  They have made the commitment to clean up any lanterns and trash within the event area.  They are only allowing their own special sky lanterns to be used.  Only food and drink items sold by their vendors are allowed in the event.  So they have certainly taken much of the environmental risk out of the equation.

Now there are people who will disagree with any large event and the impact on the desert environment. 

Sky lanterns have been banned in 12 states and 6 countries.  Why?

Fire Hazard?

The lanterns are very lightweight and rise when heat especially fire is added.  When released no one knows when or where they will land.  So I guess litter is of some concern.  However this year is especially dangerous given the extended drought and dry conditions in the western states especially California.  We have thousands of firefighters in California risking their lives today to put out fires already burning.  Do we really need to introduce a fire element into the air? 

A sky lantern or Chinese lantern will stay aloft from 10 minutes to 2 hours.  Who knows what distance they can travel in two hours.  While the Mojave desert is probably a safe landing area, most would agree that anywhere there are housing structures or woods it can become a real hazard.

I would assume they have insurance.  Certainly any type of open flame when launching these devices make them dangerous for personal burns.  It is a risk that people would probably take given the beauty in the event. 

However there is always the possibility of a real catastrophe taking place. Do we really need more wildfires burning thousands of acres and hundreds of homes? 

What Do You Think?

Let me know your thoughts.  I like festivals and this one seems like it will be a wonderful event.  There is always a risk of an accident in any large crowd.  We have seen fires, structure collapses, people trampled, ridiculous traffic, and who know how many other unexpected occurrences happen at festivals.  We try to control risk and improve safety.  We rarely close events down that pose a low level risk of occurrence.  Would you go or support others right to hold and attend such an event?

Funtober continues with Day 78 on our Fun Things To Do As We Countdown To Halloween blog series.  Be Safe.  Find lots more Fall Festival at Funtober.

Image of performers at Cleveland Oktoberfest.

Imagine my surprise to wake up and find that Maysville, Kentucky has already had their Oktoberfest event.  I checked Funtober and found 11 Oktoberfest in August events.  Seems while this German harvest festival and wedding celebration started in October in 1810 it keeps creeping closer to summer each year.  Even Munich moved their event to September years ago to take advantage of the better weather.  Now I found 8 states with 11 events that are held in August.  Most of these are huge Oktoberfest events with thousands of attendees.  So if you are in Colorado, Illinois,  Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, or Utah it is time to get your lederhosen out.  Here are some fun Oktoberfest events for August.  Find our complete list of Oktoberfest USA events at Funtober.


Image of girls dancing at Oktoberfest.

Have Fun At Oktoberfest. photo www.flickr.com [club transitlantico]

Beaver Creek Oktoberfest – Beaver Creek, CO – August 30-31, 2014
Enjoy these Bavarian festivities over Labor Day weekend. Enter the daily costume contest to win prizes and listen to the live oompah music. Get a workout at the Oktoberfest Shuffle, which is their non-competitive walk, hike or run over a 5K or 10K course on the trails of Beaver Creek Mountain.  Admission to the event is free.  Foot stompin’ oom-pah-pah music is provided by the Helmut Fricker Band and the Trachtenapelle Band (from Austria).  Get you set of Spiegelau bee glasses at the tasting seminar for $30.

Oktoberfest – Morrison, CO – August 23-24, 2014
The T.E.V. Edelweiss Club puts on their authentic Oktoberfest event in August.  Admission is $7.  This year they feature a traveling display from the “German American Heritage Museum”.  Opening ceremonies are at 11:30 am on Saturday with music and dancing starting at noon.  They feature kids games, face painting, folk dancing, German food, and lots of beer choices.


Image of Oktoberfest band at local celebration.

Top Oktoberfest celebrations In the USA. photo www.flickr.com [platter_mike]

Oktoberfest in August – Buffalo Grove, IL – August 15-17, 2014
Hosted by Schwaben Verein of Chicago, this event has been going on for more than 137 years. Entry fee is a $10 donation with children 12 years of age and younger free. Parking and entertainment is free. Food drink and amusement game tickets may be purchased. German buffet is $14 on Saturday and Sunday. Party tent provides rain or shine fun. There will be domestic and German beer, bratwurst, singers and dancers. Arcade games and rides for kids. Location: Schwaben Center, 301 N. Weiland Road, Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Image of Oktoberfest in August flyer from Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Oktoberfest in Auguest. photo courtesy www.oktoberfestinaugust.com.


Maysville Oktoberfest – Maysville, KY – August 8-9, 2014
Held on the second Friday and Saturday of August annually in the the historic downtown area of Maysville. Why so early? Because if they had it in September, it would compete with the huge festival in Cincinnati. So they kick off the season instead. They have a ceremonial keg tapping, live music and dancing. Consume German food, beer, wine and schnapps. Watch the parade, log sawing, tug of war and weiner dog races. Your kids will like the puppet show and carnival rides.


Cleveland Oktoberfest Dog Races

Germania Society Oktoberfest – Cincinnati, OH – August 22-24, 2014
Food options will include rotisserie grilled chicken, schwenkbraten, sauerkraut balls, schnitzel, brats giant pretzels, Black Forest Cake and more. They will have 60 German and domestic beers on tap including Warsteiner. German wine, schnapps and Jagermiester also available. The 2014 Burgermeister is Brian Thomas from the 55 KRC morning show. Grand Raffle featured prize is a tour of Germany for two (or $5000 in cash). Location: Germania Park, 3529 West Kemper Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45251

Cleveland Oktoberfest – Cleveland, OH – August 29 – September 1, 2014
This Cleveland Ohio Oktoberfest happens annually over Labor Day weekend. They are celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2014. Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr beer will be served in addition to several other beers in the International Beer Garden Free parking with the option for paid VIP parking. Celebrity keg tapping. Oktoberfest Microbrew Competition and wiener dog races. Glockenspiel routines on the hour. The finals of the Miss Oktoberfest contest and the masskrugstemmen (one arm stein holding) contest. 5K Beer Run on September 1st. Vendors in the Bavarian Shopping Village will offer for sale beer steins, German merchandise and other items. Children’s activity area includes inflatables, hay rides, arts & crafts, sand castle building, gingerbread house classes and The Frisch Marionette Company (a puppet show that has been featured in People Magazine and on Showtime). Admission to the festival is $10 per person with children under 12 receiving free admission. Location: Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Rd Berea, OH 44017


Image of dancing at Oktoberfest

New Oktoberfest Celebrations with dancing. photo www.flickr.com [ club transatlantico]

Augustoberfest – Hagerstown, MD – August 23-24, 2014
This annual Oktoberfest pays tribute to the area’s rich German heritage and supports exchange students from its sister city in Wiesel, Germany.  Tickets are $5.  The event kicks off Saturday at 8 am with a 5Km and 10Km Fit Walk.  Activities last all day until 10 pm.  The children’s area opens at noon with a Punch and Judy show, a magic show, arts, crafts, and storytelling.  For adult the hospitality tent opens at 11 am.  Music is provided by the Heidi and Heimat Echo, and Die Schlauberger bands.  On Sunday the huge German Car Show starts at 10:30 am.  Also don’t miss the German Brunch from 11 am until 2 pm.

New Jersey

Oktoberfest in August – North Bergen – August 16-17, 2014
Celebrate the 140th Plattduetsche Volksfest Vereen with their annual Oktoberfest in August event at Schuetzen Park.  Enjoy German foods, children’s games, a little miss beauty pageant, and their famous beer stein holding competition.  Music fun is provided by the Austrian Boys and the Bavarian Dancers.  Tickets are $10.  The fest starts at 12:00 pm.

New York

Great Syracuse Oktoberfest – Syracuse, New York – August 16-17, 2014
The 54th year for this Central New York Oktoberfest. German food, entertainment and tents from the German American Society of Central New York. Magic show and balloons for children. Free admission and parking. Location: Long Branch Park, Liverpool, NY

Cheektowaga German Heritage Festival – Cheektowaga, NY – Aug 30-31, 2014
A two day festival to celebrate German culture. Live music by Bergholz Blaskapelle, The Ausländers, The German-American Musicians and The Frankfurters. They will sell German food and beer. Kinder Park Family Fun area for children to enjoy and shopping in the Vendor Marketplatz. Sponsored by the Federation of German-American Societies.


Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein – August 30 to Sept 1, 2014
The popular Labor Day weekend Oktoberfest in Philadelphia that kicks off the German celebrations here.  At 142 years this is the oldest German Volksfest in the U.S.  Always fun it features great German food, prizes, vendors, rides for the kids, dancing, and popular music.  Tickets are $6 for one day or $11 for a 3 day pass.


Image of beer keg at Snowbird Oktoberfest in August.

Snowbird Oktoberfest opens in August. photo www.flickr.com [snowbirdphoto]

Snowbird Oktoberfest – Snowbird, Utah – Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16 – Oct. 12, 2014
The Snowbird Ski Resort (located southeast of Salt Lake City) hosts Utah’s most popular German festival. Over 60,000 attend this annual Utah Oktoberfest which started in 1973. Get a taste of Bavaria with authentic food, live German music and yodelers. Local breweries will also be featured. Arts and crafts from local and regional artists will be offered for sale in Der Marktplatz. A ceremonial one litre beer stein is available for collectors. Last year, it kicked off the celebration with a 3K Lederhosen race on the opening day. There was also a Grand Oktoberfest on Labor Day weekend with procession, ceremonial keg tapping and best costume contest to crown Miss and Mister Oktoberfest. Visitors generally consume some 6,000 pounds of weisswurst and bratwurst, 4,500 pounds of chicken and 2,000 Granny Smith apples are eaten in the delicious apple strudel. Free admission.

Thanks for reading as we continue our Fall Things To Do As We Countdown To Halloween Day 79 blog series.  Keep coming back for more information updated daily.

Image of crowd at dock of Tall Ship.

The Star Spangled Spectacular Takes Place September 10-16, 2014.

Jordin Sparks, Kenny Rogers, Melissa Etheridge, and Train are but a few of the star performers on stage during the Star Spangled Spectacular festival happening in Baltimore.

Baltimore celebrates the 200th anniversary of our national anthem written during the attempted British invasion in 1814.  The Star Spangled Spectacular festival features amazing fireworks, visiting Tall Ships, the Blue Angel, an air show, a live and televised music concert, and a viewing of Francis Scott Key’s original manuscript.  Check out this calendar of events during the Star Spangled 200 festival

See The Tall Ships Arrive September 10th

A flotilla of some 48 ships including several tall ships from around the world sail into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on September 10th.  For the next 5 days visitors can tour onboard some of the ships between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm.  The Tall Ships leave the harbor on the 16th.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is one of the tall ships joining in the celebration.  It is the largest tall ship flying the Stars and Stripes.  A square-rigger, it features a three-masted barque.  This ship was built in 1936 but is the sixth ship to carry the name Eagle dating back to 1792.  It travels the world with 6 officers and 50 permanent crew members on board.  It also travels with about 150 trainees.  The ship can reach speeds of 10 knots under power or 17 knots under full sail.  It is 295 feet long and 147 feet tall at its highest point.  Fully loaded it holds 23,000 gallons of fuel oil, 239 people, and provisions for extended cruises.

  • Chris Kaltenbach of the Baltimore Sun wrote some updated information “More details announced for Star-Spangled Spectacular celebration“.  He mentions that ships will be coming from Canada, UK, Norway, Spain, Germany, and Turkey.  Former Secretary of Sate Colin Powell will be on hand the morning of September 14th.  Also a 911 flag from ground zero and part of the original Fort McHenry flag will be on display.  Also music performers to include Ken Kolodner, the Crawdaddies, Duende, the Naval Academy Band’s Elecrric Brigade and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band.

Air Show

Image of U.S. Navy Blue Angels in flight.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels. photo deposit photos


The air show is free and can be viewed on September 13th and 14th between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm as they fly over the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.  The U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team will perform for approximately 90 minutes.  This is a performance you do not want to miss.

Places to view the air show:
Inner Harbor Festival Village
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Canton Waterfront Park
Port Covington Walmart
Martin State Airport
MedStar Harbor Hospital

Music Concert

image of people at music concert

Music Concert and Festivals Are So Much Fun


Actor and musician John Lithgow will co-host with music superstar Jordin Sparks the September 13th music concert that takes place at the Pier Six Pavilion.  Performers include Smokey Robinson, Kristin Chenoweth, Kenny Rogers, Train, Melissa Etheridge, Denyce Graves-Montgomery, STOMP, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and many more groups.  Tickets are still available for this performance.  The concert runs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  It will also be telecast live on PBS TV as part of their THIRTEEN’S Great Performance series at 8 PM ET.


Image of fireworks and light display in Baltimore.

Fireworks and Light Display over Baltimore. photo fireworks by grucci.


At the conclusion of the concert the largest fireworks display in Baltimore’s history will take place.  Free public viewing sites are designated at the Spectacular Festival Villages at the Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry.  It will be a 20 minute performance stretching the three miles between the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry.  The music score was choreographed and includes music by John Williams, James Ingram, Jennifer Hudson, Faith Hill, and more.  If you are at home it is available online.

Spectacular Villages

Festival villages are being set up at Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, and the Martin State Airport.  View the aircraft, see local music performance, and enjoy food and beverage vendors before and after going through the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.  The village at Fort McHenry will operate on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It will have fair type food options, ethnic specialties, hands on activities, living history demonstrations, and more.  Inner Harbor has cooking demonstrations, kids activities, local music, great food, sponsor giveaways, beer and wine gardens, and a Family Fun Zone.

Fort McHenry

Image of Fort McHenry, Baltimore.

Fort McHenry is home to Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner. photo courtesy National Park Service


The famous fort survived the attack on the night of September 13th, two hundred years ago.  All events are open to the public including the living flag kickoff on September 9th.  Over 7000 school children dressed in red, white, and blue will create a living flag.  On September 14th at 9:00 am a group of military units will raise the 15 star and stripe replica flag that Francis Scott Key saw that morning.  Also available is a viewing of the original document penned by Key.  It was lost for 75 years and later found.  It did not become our national anthem until 1931.

The Star Spangled Banner:

There are four verses but generally only the first verse is played.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight.
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Some facts about the War of 1812:

The war began in 1812 at a time in which the British and French were deeply involved in the Napoleonic Wars that began in 1803.  The British brought the Americans into the war by restricting trade and pulling sailors off American merchant ships.  The war lasted 2 years and 8 months with British victories throughout the first two years.  In fact the city of Washington was burned to the ground.  The British navy attacked east coast towns and extracted goods under the threat of burning them down.  New York was saved in early 1814 and Baltimore was still standing at Fort McHenry on September 14th.  These two set backs shifted the war to New Orleans in January 2015.  Andrew Jackson’s army defeated the British there which effectively ended the war.  At the same time, the war in Europe was ending and peace negotiators were working out details.  The war ended on February 15, 1815.

Francis Scott Key was a Maryland poet and attorney who was called in to negotiator a prisoner release.  He watched the attack on Fort McHenry on September 13th from aboard a British warship in the harbor.  About 1800 cannon shells were fired at the fort.  At dawn the flag over Fort McHenry was still waving.  The manuscript was found some 75 years later in a desk at the Key family home. 

Funtober continues our Fall Things to do as we Countdown to Halloween day 80 blog series.  Find more festivals at funtober.

Image of Boston Calling Music Festival stage at night.

The Boston Calling Music Festival is a three day city wide celebration held at City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston.  This years event combines with the annual Sam Adams Oktoberfest to give us a huge event on September 5-7, 2014.  Boston Calling has always been one of the best music festivals in the country.  This years entertainment includes Lorde, The National, Nas x The Roots, and many more bands.

Image of lineup card at Boston Calling.

Boston Calling Music Festival. photo courtesy of Boston Calling.


Tickets for Boston Calling come in a wide variety of prices and packages.  For example the one day Friday pass is $50.  The Saturday or Sunday one day passes are $75.  There are also one day and three day VIP passes.

Promoters recommend you bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, driver’s license, comfortable shoes, a small camera, and possibly food.  You can not bring a backpack, spray guns or bottles, laser pens, glow sticks, metal cans, canteens, pet, bicycles, umbrellas, candy, chairs, or other metal type objects.

Sam Adams Oktoberfest

You can wear a costume including Oktoberfest type lederhosen and dirndl.  This is part of Samuel Adams 30th anniversary celebration.  They will have German sausages, lawn games, pretzels, a beer stein hosting competition, great selection of beers, and an Oktoberfest style beer tent.

Boston Calling

The music event is one big party.  In past years the audience consisted of all ages.  Children under the age of 10 are free.  With the addition of Oktoberfest there will be large parts of the event off limits to those under the age of 21.  They feature two live stages, lots of food booths, restrooms, souvenirs, and contests as part of the music event.  Note the music ends at 11:00 pm.

Featured Entertainers:

Lorde:  A New Zealand pop star
The National:  Indie rock group
The Replacements:  A legendary rock band
Nas x The Roots:  Jimmy Fallon’s in house band on Tonight.
Childish Gambina:  Rapper
Sky Ferriera:  singer
Neutral Milk Hotel:  alternative rock

Check out the preview video of rock groups playing at Boston Calling.

The primary sponsors for this huge event include JetBlue, Samuel Adams, Capital One, Xfinity, Tasty Burger, ticketmaster, Boston Children’s Hospital, and more local sponsors.

Funtober continues to inform you about Fun Things To Do This Fall.  This is day 81 on our Countdown to Halloween.  Follow our blog series at Funtober.