Why it ranks: Beer, bands, brats and Bavarian roasted nuts. There is reason so many people collect Oktoberfest beer steins and T-shirts each year. So many great memories are created at Oktoberfest, a fundraiser for the DAI that has attracted 875,000 and has raised more than $5 million since its inception in 1972.
Volunteers will serve about 50 craft, domestic German and Ohio beers including brews from Great Lakes, Konig, Warsteiner, Dayton Beer Company, Jackie O’s, Weihenstephan, Ommegang Three Philosophers, Stone Arrogant Bastard and Southern Tier.
About 25 food vendors will participate including Zombie Dogz, Bavarian Roasted Nuts, Juergen’s German Restaurant, Bakery & Kaffee Haus, The Original Strudel Factory, Bessie’s Noodles, Schmidt’s of German Village, Black Jack Grill/Pretzel Hut Bakery, Bourbon Street Grill & Café and Brock Masteron’s.
Parking: A free shuttle service is offered throughout the weekend from the University of Dayton lot next to the Marriott hotel on River Park Drive, just off Patterson Boulevard. Free RTA Oktoberfest shuttles will also run from downtown Dayton Saturday and Sunday. There will be stops along Monument Avenue, Wilkinson Street, Second Street, Main Street and Fifth Street. Find more info here: daytonartinstitute.org/oktparking
Cost: Admission to the lunch is free. Advance tickets to the preview party are $55 for members and $75 for non-members. Gate admission is $95. Oktoberfest general admission tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors ages 60 and older and youth ages 7 to 18. Gate admission is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. Children 6 and younger admitted free of charge.
More info: www.daytonartinstitute.org
27TH ANNUAL OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Where: 10542 State Hwy. 73, Harveysburg, OH, 45068
When: Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 23
Why it ranks: The festival set in 16th Century England is not only about jousters, jugglers and other entertainers. It is also about turkey legs the size of your head, steak on a stake, schnitzel, Royal Scottish eggs, ales and all sorts of other eats.
This year, Ren Fest is adding Garden of Eatin, Marco Polo’s Bistro and Jerusalem Cafe.
Burgers and such will be found in the Garden of Eats. Go to Jerusalem Cafe for Middle Eastern foods like baklava and shawarma. Marco Polo’s will have food inspired by the explorer’s travels in the Silk Road.
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Cost: Admission is $21.95 for adults and $9.95 for children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are admitted free.
More info: www.renfestival.com
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AULLWOOD’S APPLE FEST
Where: Aullwood Audubon Farm, 9101 Frederick Pike
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25.
Why it ranks: Apples, apples and more apples. If apple pie from a Dutch oven isn't enough, there also is kettle corn, grilled cheese, cider, fish boats, apple dumplings and brats, cheeseburgers and other sandwiches made from animals raised at Aullwood.
There will be bluegrass music, puppets, songs and Johnny Appleseed will share stories and apples.
Cost: Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Children younger than 3 are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for Friends of Aullwood members.
More info: http://aullwood.audubon.org/events/apple-fest
TIPP CITY MUM FESTIVAL
Where: City Park, 35 Parkwood Drive, Tipp City.
When: Friday, Sept. 23, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 25, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Why it ranks: It's a celebration in honor of our favorite fall flowers. Friday Cruise-In, Saturday Parade, Little Mr. and Miss Pageant, Sunday Motorcycle Ride, arts, crafts, MumKids Land. Family fun, great food & live entertainment all weekend long.
More info: 937-387-6774 or www.tippcitymumfestival.org.
GERMANTOWN PRETZEL FEST
Where: Veteran's Memorial Park, 45 N. Walnut St., Germantown.
When: Sept. 24, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25, noon to 6 p.m.
Why it ranks: Um, pretzels!!! As you walk around Germantown's Veteran's Park, you'll see our vendors hand-crafted items, tasty treats and all the other unique items a festival brings. Bring the family and take in some of the views of historical Germantown.
More info: pretzelfestival.com.