There Will Be Lederhosen
We are deep in the heart of Oktoberfest and that means celebrating such Teutonic traditions as schnitzel and steins. No need to travel to Bavaria. The Dells (yes, the Dells) and nearby Long Grove offer the best of the weekend’s wurst. Alternatively, should your palate yearn for a four-star food fest that goes beyond brats ‘n’ beer, head to Kohler, Wisconsin from October 21st through 24th.
Just a Cobblestone’s Throw Away
This weekend, from October 15th to 17th, Long Grove’s OktoberFest celebrates German roots that go back to the early 19th century. Stroll the downtown and you’ll find many of the buildings and some of the cobblestone streets put in place by early German immigrants and their descendents still there. The Fest features a parade, ethnic dancers, a beer tent, and lots of family friendly activities including nightly bonfires and “haunted walks.” If you’re already in the holiday shopping mode, Long Grove’s carefully preserved downtown area—the X that spreads out from the junction of Robert Parker Coffin Road and Old McHenry Road—is lined with more than 60 shops and restaurants. For a walking map that details the downtown’s architectural history (back in 1879, the Olive Tap housed a creamery; the Prairie Smoke Clothing Co. was the home of a Civil War vet), click here.
Where to stay: Wyndham Gardens Hotel, 900 W. Lake Cook Rd., Buffalo Grove; 847-215-8883, wyndham.com. Rates range from $89 to $104.
GO Long Grove Oktoberfest, October 15th to 17th. The event begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 15th, with the opening of the beer tent. Saturday highlights include a parade at 10:30 a.m. and performances by the Egerlander German Folk Dance Group and the Horst’s Polka Band. Activities continue Sunday with acoustic performances by Mark Theodore at noon, followed by Jimmy Liggett at 3 p.m. All events are in downtown Long Grove. For more information and a detailed schedule, call 847-634-0888 or go to longgroveonline.com.
Autumn in a Summer Town
Once waterpark season is over, the Dells, the heavily trafficked Wisconsin resort area, becomes a hotspot for more grown-up pleasures, including Wisconsin Dells on Tap. On Oct. 16th from noon to 5 p.m., the makers of Horny Goat Belgian Wheat, Black Scotch Ale, and dozens of other locally brewed beers will be on tap under a massive beer tent erected in downtown Wisconsin Dells. The event also includes a showcase of locally made cheeses. Designated drivers are provided: For $5, you can take a shuttle between any Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton accommodation and the beer tent.
Where to Stay: Hilton Garden Inn, 101 E. Hiawatha Dr., Wisconsin Dells; 608-253-1100, hiltongardeninn.com. Rates range from $99 to $209.
GO Downtown Wisconsin Dells, noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 16th. Tickets are $35 or $30 in advance. For more information call 800-223-3557 or click here.
Way Beyond Brats
Celebrity chefs—including the Food Network’s Anne Burrell, the cookbook author Sara Moulton, and Top Chef Masters contestant Graham Elliot Bowles are among those descending on Kohler, Wisconsin for the 10th Anniversary Kohler Food and Wine Experience, October 21st through 24th. The four-day food fest is expected to draw thousands for events that include Taste of the Vine on October 22nd and Feast of Talent, a multi-course epicurean extravaganza prepared by top chefs, on October 23rd. Tickets range from $459 per person to $719 per person (includes overnight accommodations for two nights, plus two tickets to Taste of the Vine and Feast of Talent).
GO Kohler Food and Wine Experience, October 21 through 24th. The American Club Resort, 419 Highland Dr., Kohler, Wisconsin; 800-344-2838 or visit destinationkohler.com