Today is the final day of Oktoberfest Northwest - a three-day celebration of beer, brats and German dancing and singing. I checked in at the festival yesterday afternoon at the Puyallup Fairgrounds Showplex. Today is a great day to go because admission is half-price all day - $5 gets you in. Kids are welcome all day today. Oh, and the food? They nailed it this year.
For beer: Beer costs $6 a glass, or buy a stein. Prepare yourself for a mild irritation, you stand in line for a ticket (purchased with cash or credit) and then take your ticket to a beer stand for beer.
Beer list this year: Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Paulaner Munich Lager, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Hacker-Pschorr Maibock and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon
Where to sit: Long rows of tables right in front of the stage, and cafe tables scattered throughout the showplex.
Kids stuff: Pumpkin decorating and a bag toss. There's also free face painting today. Root beer floats are served at the back of the Showplex. Yesterday, there were more kids than adults on the dance floor. The chicken dance was a popular kid attraction performed by the Allgauer AlpinCats From Bavaria yesterday.
Entertainment: Singing on the stage throughout the weekend. Also, there's lots and lots of dancing (that's what happens at a beer festival). Today's schedule of entertainers are the Alpenband at noon and 3, the AlpinCats at 1:30 and 4:30, the Enzian Shuhplattler Dancers at noon, 1 and 2:30 p.m.
Wiener dog races: Today until 5 p.m. Only dogs that are registered for the race are allowed. Click here for details.
Food: There are four restaurant windows along the back wall of the Showplex. There's Crepe Chalet, Bruno's European Restaurant, Gutes Essen Haus, Zieglers Bratwurst House. There also are a few smaller kiosks on the floor - a pretzel stand and Kaleenka Piroshky booth.
BELOW: A photo gallery of restaurant menus and photos and reviews of what I ate. More details about Oktoberfest are also below.
Spiked with dill and heavy on pickles, this potato soup was full of savory pucker. I wanted a second bowl. I don't know if it was intentional, but the roll was so dry, it shattered. It sopped up the soup fine, but it was more of a crouton than a roll. $5 at the Bruno's booth. [caption id="attachment_11874" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Potato pancake's from Bruno's, $8. "]
[/caption]Crispy edges and creamy soft center, these nicely seasoned potato pancakes were dreamy tasting - none of the starchy or gummy texture some cakes can come with. Served with applesauce out of a jar and a big scoop of sour cream. Four pancakes per plate. $8 at the Bruno's booth. The Bruno's menu is the next photo. The booth took cash and cards.
[caption id="attachment_11876" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Stroganoff with spaetzle at Crepe Chalet, $7.50. "] [/caption]This plate was enormous, steaming hot and made me salivate as I walked across the Showplex to my table. It took two people and two forks to conquer it. Slow-cooked beef strips - with the tiniest bit of chew - served with a gravy that was more salty than beefy tasting. I liked the rustic cut of the spaetzle - they looked to be handmade dumplings. The dish also is served with egg noodles. $7.50 at the Crepe Chalet booth. The menu is the next photo. The booth took cash and cards.
For festival food, this was good eating. Not exactly cheap, but considering the portion size and quality, I thought it was just fine. This plate was a breaded pork cutlet coated with a beefy mushroom gravy, a side of warm red potato salad with nice chunks of bacon and a punchy vinaigrette. I loved the sweet-sour red cabbage on the side. I helped myself to a heaping spoon of whole grain mustard. The plate is $10 at the Gutes Essen Haus booth. The booth only takes cash, no cards. The menu is the next picture.
Oktoberfest Northwest 2012When: Friday Oct. 5 - Sunday Oct. 7, 2012. Hours are 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. SundayWhere: Puyallup Fairgrounds; oktoberfestnw.comAdmission: $10 on Oct. 5-6, $5 on Oct. 7. Kids always free. Free admission also 11 a.m-3 p.m. Oct. 5.Parking: Free, enter through the blue gateBring cash, expect lines: A few things may slow you down. Last year, there were two lines for beer - one to get the ticket for beer, another for the actual beer. Also, the food vendors only accepted cash last year.
MORE UPCOMING OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATIONS:
Oktoberfest in the Theater DistrictWhen: noon-10 p.m. Oct. 13Where: Opera Alley (near St. Helens Avenue)Cost: $5Food: Stink and Puget Sound Pizza will serve food themed for the event. The Mix will sponsor a themed beer and wine garden with Oktoberfest and seasonal brews from local breweries.Proceeds: Go to the Tacoma Theater District AssociationAge: 21 and older onlyLive music: Whoopee Cats (1-4), Palmer Junction (4-7) and Kim Archer Band (7-10)
Enumclaw OktobeerfestWhen: Oct. 19-20Where: Enumclaw Expo Center; enumclawoktobeerfest.comAdmission: $20 for a two-day pass; purchase at the website or at retail locations listed on the websiteBeers, brewing and brats will be at this festival, which will include more than 30 brews. Brewing seminars and bottling demonstrations will delve into the hoppier side of the beer trade. There will be dancing, singing and comedy delivered by John Keister of “Almost Live” local TV fame. This could be your chance to heckle him for all those Enumclaw and Buckley jokes.