A toast to Germany



Willkommen! Break out the bratwurst and hike up the lederhosen -- it's Oktoberfest time again.

It's a time to celebrate oversized beer bellies, oompah and polka music, brewing contests and authentic German dishes.

Oktoberfests happening around the state this year serve up traditional activities, including home-brew contests, arts and crafts, dancing and performances from local musicians. Here's a roundup of some of the state's festivals.

Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest

Main attractions at this Oct. 15-16 event include beer gardens showcasing beverages from 11 different breweries and two stages of live music, one German-themed and the other local. Bands include the Bridge and the Kelly Bell Band. The Miss Oktoberfest and Baltimore's Best Beer Belly contests steal the spotlight Oct. 15. The Maryland Brewer's Homebrew and Maryland Governor's Cup Brewing contests are the highlights Oct. 16. Visitors in traditional German garb receive three free beer tokens.

The Maryland Brewer's Oktoberfest runs noon-8 p.m. Oct. 15 and noon-6 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Ticket prices include six beer tokens and a souvenir mug. Call 800-830-3976, ext. 108, or visit mdoktober fest.com.

Maryland Oktoberfest

The 5th Regiment Armory hosts the 36th Annual Maryland Oktoberfest on Oct. 8-9. The main attraction this year is the dance floor, which features the sounds of brass instruments and oompah and polka bands.

The Maryland Oktoberfest will be held from noon-11 p.m. Oct. 8 and from noon-8 p.m. Oct. 9 at the 5th Regiment Armory, Howard and 29th Division streets. Tickets are $6 at the door, and admission for children under 12 is free. Parking is also free. Call 410-522-4144 or visit md-ger mans.org.

Germantown Oktoberfest

It's only fitting for a German celebration to take place in Maryland's own Germantown. The festival will showcase performances from the Old Comrades German Band, Bairisch und Steierisch German Dancers and Cops & Robbers Rock 'n' Roll band, and a fireworks display.

Festivities are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, in Germantown's Ridge Road Park, 21155 Frederick Road. Admission and parking are free. Call 240-777-8003 or visit germantown oktoberfest.org.

Fleas, Food 'n' Fun

With a motto of "Fleas, Food 'n' Fun," the Maryland Presbyterian Church's Oktoberfest on Oct. 15 will feature a large indoor flea market as its main attraction. The enticing scents of various wursts and krauts will fill the air. Baked goods and beverages will also be served.

The Maryland Presbyterian Church's Oktoberfest is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 15. The church is at 1105 Providence Road, Towson. Admission is free. Call 410-825-0719 or visit mpchurch.org

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