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October brings full calendar of Oktoberfests to Tampa area

Germany's famed Oktoberfest celebration ended this week, after more than six million dirndl and lederhosen-wearing revelers had downed an estimated 14.6 million pints of beer. But while Germany might be spending the rest of October sleeping off its collective hangover, the Tampa Bay area is just getting started. The rest of the month holds all sorts of bratwursts, brews, games and music. Whether you're looking for family-friendly, or a wild weekend, there's something on the calendar for you. Oct. 12 to 14 Oktoberfest Tampa Bavarian Games, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park – "Skill. Strength. Beer." That's the motto for Tampa's largest Oktoberfest celebration, which also happens to be the most competitive. Attendees can take part in 20 different beer-fueled games from brat throwing, to stein hoisting, to something called "carry the wench," for a chance to qualify for Sunday's "Olympiad." Or you can just chill out and enjoy a schnitzel plate with an authentic Weissbier served in a giant, one-liter stein. $10, 21-and-up
Oct. 12 and 13 Oktoberfest, German American Society of Pinellas County – The Tampa Bay area's preeminent German-American organization likes to bill its yearly fest as the "most authentic" of all the local Oktoberfests, with a serious dedication to doing things just like they're done in Munich. Expect that to mean excellent "hausgemacht" (homemade) traditional foods such as blaukraut (red cabbage), spaetzle (noodles) and fresh-baked soft pretzels. And nothing but imported German beer, of course. $6, all ages Oct. 13 Oktoberfest On the Beach, Kolb Park in Indian Rocks Beach — Indian Rocks does it Floridian-style with an Oktoberfest on the Gulf. There's a "kinderfest" with games for children, and a wife carrying contest for couples, as well as a silent auction, an arts and crafts show, a German band and a beer garden. Free admission, all ages Oct. 13 Oktoberfest and Car Show, downtown Avon Park – Celebrate the German holiday by eating German bratwurst and watching similarly-shaped German dogs compete in the fourth annual "weiner dog races." There are also bounce houses, music and car show, as well as weiner dog parade for daschunds and their owners wearing costumes. $2-$10, all ages Oct. 18 to 21 Top O' the Bay Oktoberfest, Tampa Bay Downs – The Oldsmar Chamber of Commerce expects its three-day Oktoberfest and carnival to draw more than 20,000 people. There will be a variety of beer and games (log sawing, keg throwing), but this year's fest really gets serious about the music. Thursday night's "Rocktoberfest" will feature rock bands instead of polka, and the Grammy-nominated Alex Meixner (who rocks an accordion like Eddie Van Halen rocks a guitar) will play on Saturday and Sunday. $12, all ages Oct. 19 to 20 Fall Festival & Oktoberfest, Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Dunedin – An Oktoberfest with a carnival vibe that includes rides, games, large flea market, crafts boutique and sports memorabilia auction, as well as German food and polka music. Free admission, all ages Oct. 20 St. Pete Oktoberfest, Grand Central District – Downtown's Grand Central District provides a hipsterish, offbeat vibe for St. Petersburg's beer-culture-focused fest, which is eschewing German beers for a big lineup of great national and local craft breweries such as Tampa's Cigar City, Orlando's Orange Blossom Ale, St. Pete Brew and the Dunedin Brewery. There's also a pre-festival "Homebrewer's Challenge" on Friday, where the crowd and a panel of judges will crown the top beers from local garage brewers. $25 to $35, 21-and-up Oct. 20 Oktoberfest, Sail Pavilion on the Riverwalk – Head to downtown Tampa for a dog-friendly festival featuring a "beer university," where you can learn how different beers are made, before putting that knowledge to the test with a beer flight. There's also live music, games and German food. Free admission, all ages Oct. 20 Oktoberfest and Musicare Festival, Largo Cultural Center – Strap on some lederhosen and head out to a day filled with German food, beer, wine, games and vendors. There's also a silent auction and two separate stages of oompah music provided by local performers. Free admission, all ages Oct. 27 Oktoberfest, Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church – It's a family-friendly, traditional German celebration with a rock climbing wall, pumpkin bowling, craft vendors and more. The oompah band consists of five USF music students and the church's pastor. Fare will include brats, German potato salad and strudel. Free admission, all ages
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