As autumn settles in around us, so do the fall festivals. While you can’t go wrong with apple picking and pumpkin patches, Oktoberfest is always one of my family’s favorites.
Whether you celebrate fall by bobbing for apples or judging new German brews, these tips will prevent you and your wallet from overindulging.
Lee’s Summit brings Munich to KC’s suburbs every year with its Chambers Oktoberfest gathering. More than 70,000 people show up for the carnival, German meals and dancing exhibitions. The festival also features arts and crafts, fun contests for babies and pets, and a homebrew competition. This year’s event takes place Sept. 23 and 24, and admission is free.
This is a great place to wander and experience a slice of a different culture without breaking your budget. There are cheaper ways to enjoy a bratwurst, of course, but as long as you don’t linger long enough by the arts and crafts booths to become tempted, you should be fine.
Lee’s Summit will have some competition this year, though: The inaugural Kansas City Oktoberfest will re-create an “authentic” experience in Union Station’s Great Hall on Sept. 16-18. The 21-and-older event costs $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Attendees can try traditional Bavarian food and German brews while taking in live music from oompah bands. This celebration will undoubtedly be more suited for the adult crowd, as opposed to the family-oriented Lee’s Summit gathering.
Hermann, Missouri, doesn’t limit itself to a three-day shindig. Its Oktoberfest is held every weekend in October and attracts lovers of European culture from across the country. Wine, food and beer are plentiful, alongside historical re-enactments at the German School museum, crafts and antiques for sale, and live entertainment every night. There’s even a pumpkin chuckin’ event and wagon rides.
If you make the trip to Hermann, which is most of the way to St. Louis, it can feel like a mini-vacation. You’ll be tempted to buy a commemorative stein or something to remember the weekend by, or even a work by a local artist. Set a budget for trinkets and souvenirs, and take lots of family photos instead.
No matter where we go, fall is my favorite time of year. Football, pumpkin patches, sunflowers, the Renaissance Festival … did I mention football?
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.