By José Ralat Maldonado

“Prost!” is something you’re going to hear a lot soon. The German toast will be inevitably followed by clinking steins filled with the malty beers typically served during Oktoberfest, which isn’t just an excuse for the relaxing of Teutonic restraint but a celebration of tradition. The origins lay in the 1810 nuptials of Bavarian Crown Prince Louis and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, but soon took on a life of its own.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, the weeks-long holiday is feted with two major events, Addison Oktoberfest and the Rahr 5K Oktoberfest, which are detailed below.

(credit: thinkstock)

Addison Oktoberfest
September 15 – 18
Addison Circle Park
15650 Addison Rd.
Addison, TX

Attracting more than 70,000 people alone makes this Oktoberfest a serious contender in the field of must-attend festivals. But what really sets it apart from the pack is what Barbara Kovacevich, director of special events for the town of Addison, calls “a dedication to authenticity. People who have been to Munich tell us it’s like the real thing.”

That verisimilitude begins with the dates of the celebration. They coincide with the beginning of Oktoberfest in Munich. Then there are the brews. The only beers sold at the Addison Oktoberfest, now more than 20-years-old, are beers sold at the Munich festival, Spaten and Franziskaner, served under Schloss Addison, a 3,000 square-foot air-conditioned tent that resembles the beer halls of Munich. Under the tent, the public can relish hearty fare like apfelstrudel, potato pancakes and bratwurst.

Those interested in more personalized service can reserve a table in the Brauhaus, a full-service Bavarian restaurant with a separate menu.

And then there’s the entertainment. Bands like The Munich Evergreens and Alpenmusikanten are leaving Germany to join the festivities in North Texas. They will provide the soundtrack for Daschund races, a yodeling contest, bier-barrel bowling, with the keg as bowling ball, and more for the herrs, fraus and frauleins in all.

Photo Credit: Velton Haywort

Rahr Oktoberfest 5K
September 24
Rahr & Sons Brewery
701 Galveston Ave.
Fort Worth, TX

Fritz Rahr, owner of Rahr & Son Brewing Co., has a penchant for pairing the strenuous activity of running with the strenuous activity of drinking beer. A series of social runs/walk have led up to this, the main event, benefiting the Trinity Habitat for Humanity. What’s most fitting about the pairing of Rahr with Habit for Humanity is the February 2010, the brewery’s roof collapse in a fierce winter storm, effectively rendering the operation without a base. Rahr has bounced back, and they want to help others get a roof over their heads.

Of course, the best way to do that is through the imbibing of adult beverages. Check-in and same-day registration is at 8 a.m. The race takes off at 9 a.m., with the tap flowing beginning at 10 a.m.

Don’t get distracted by the ladies in mini-skirted dirndls, or do. “It’s about fun and helping those in need,” says Rahr. That’s correct, drinking beer cures homelessness.