By OWEN MORRIS
This weekend is uber-loaded with Oktoberfest events, which almost makes up for the lack of German restaurants in town. As subscribers to The Pitch's dining newsletter Pitch Forks know, there is only one German restaurant left in the Kansas City area, The Rheinland Restaurant in downtown Independence. But there's no lack of Oktoberfests this weekend.
The biggie is the downtown Oktoberfest at Crown Center Square from Friday to Sunday. It technically starts at 6 p.m. tonight but the party doesn't really get started until the keg tapping ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Crown Center has learned from the mistake of the Irish Festival that didn't have any authentic beer. For this event, it got Warsteiner as a host. Tickets are $5 and one wristband gets you re-entry for all three days of the festival. Hours on Saturday are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The other big Oktoberfest celebration is in downtown Lee Summit and also starts today. At its Biergarten Tent, $10 buys an entire authentic German meal with potato dumplings and Schweineschlegel (pork loin). On Saturday there's a brat-eating contest, root-beer chugging contest and a wiener dog parade. Best of all, the entire event is free to both kids and adults. It starts at 5 p.m. and closes at 10. Saturday's hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Finally, to you small but loud group from Lawrence that reads this blog: Try the St. John's Oktoberfest at St. John's Catholic Church at 12th and Kentucky. It starts at 4 p.m. Saturday and the food tent includes cabbage rolls, schnitzel and bratwurst. Come for the food and stay for the polka! But only until the party ends at 9 p.m. This Oktoberfest has limited-edition Oktoberfest mugs. In fact, if you have one from a previous year, you get a discount on all drinks.
Just be careful as those full liters of German beer can add up real quickly and before you know it, you'll be wearing lederhosen and singing Hänschen klein.