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Get your lederhosen out of the closet and iron your dirndl, it's Oktoberfest-time! Celebrations of German heritage and culture abound in Wine Country, where the riesling wine and dunkel beer flow like the Rhine. Dust off your stein and click through the gallery to discover seven Oktoberfest events you don't want to miss in Sonoma County.
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September 27: Oktoberfest at the Odd Fellows Hall, Santa Rosa
Polka and accordion legend Karl Lebherz will perform at the Santa Rosa Odd Fellows Lodge #53 during an old-school Oktoberfest. A mere $5 per person, or $10 at the door, the party will feature sing-a-longs and plenty of dancing tunes to get your waltz, cha-cha and Rheinlander groove on. Dinner, included in the ticket price, will be prepared by the hall's own Gundy, Tiffany and Ursula, and will feature spaetzle, red cabbage, homemade applesauce, strudel and more. 545 Pacific Ave., Santa Rosa, (707) 546-1591, sroddfellowshall.com.
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September 30: Oktoberfest at Schug Winery, Sonoma
German-born winemaker Walter Schug moved to California in 1961 to work in the wine industry and his family has been celebrating Oktoberfest annually at their Carneros winery ever since. They'll serve traditional Federweisser (newly fermented white wine from barrel) and Zwiebelkuchen (German onion tart). There will also be crafts, cornhole, a photo booth, raffles, unlimited pretzels, and even free German lessons. A polka band will play the soundtrack for the day. Family friendly. 602 Bonneau Rd., Sonoma, (707) 939-9363, schugwinery.com. (Courtesy photo)
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October 1: Oktoberfest at Brewsters Beer Garden, Petaluma
Bring the kids, dogs and your finest German regalia to Brewsters Beer Garden, in downtown Petaluma, for their first Oktoberfest. The afternoon features live polka music from the Schwabenland German Band, traditional Bavarian food, and German beers poured from the pub's taps. German traditional costume is encouraged. 229 Water St., Petaluma, (707) 981-8330, brewstersbeergarden.com.
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October 7: Oktoberfest at the Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma
Germans love football (aka soccer) and they'd surely approve of this fundraiser for youth soccer in Sonoma Valley. This family-friendly event features a video game truck, climbing wall, dunk tank, soccer wall, live music, and a cornhole tournament. For the grown-ups, there will be local beer, wine and cocktails. The event benefits Sonoma Valley Soccer's efforts to build an all-weather soccer complex for the community. Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma, sonomasoccer.org.
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October 14: Cotati Oktoberfest
Entering it's 11th year, Cotati's Oktoberfest is just another excuse for locals to whip out their accordions (Cotati is home to an annual accordion festival) and celebrate. Grab a collectible glass stein and sip German beer paired with bratwurst and all the fixings. If that isn't enticing enough, the annual "world-famous" wiener dog race will take place. There will also be yodeling, live music, a costume contest, and potato sack races. La Plaza Park, Cotati, (707) 795-5508, cotati.org.
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October 15: Cowbells & Lederhosen, Santa Rosa
Bratwurst and beer are paired together for the 4th Annual Cowbells & Lederhosen, a fundraiser for the Sonoma County Special Olympics. German and local beers will be poured, along with local wine, to wash down grilled bratwurst a la the famous Spaten Oktoberfest. Party band Wonderbread 5 will perform for revelers who can toast to the fun with limited edition beer steins. 50 Ursuline Rd., Santa Rosa, (707) 285-7060, cowbellsoktoberfest.com.
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October 21: Fϋnkendänk Oktoberfest Beer and Music Festival, Rohnert Park
Like a little funk with your beer? Sours and "danky hop-forward ales" will be the theme of the Funkendänk Oktoberfest, and the last event of the season, at SOMO Village. HopMonk will be pouring funky tasting Sonoma County beers and a traditional German beer garden will serve European beer from wooden kegs. Four hours of music will accompany the festival, with ticket proceeds benefiting Ales for Autism. 1400 Valley House Dr., Rohnert Park, (707) 664-6314, somoconcerts.com.
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