German-American Festival (September 7 - 9, 2012): Hosted by the United German-American Societies of Greater Chicago, this annual German-inspired festival takes place in Chicago's Lincoln Square Neighborhood (4000 N. Lincoln Avenue at Western and Leland Avenues) and features the Von Streuben German Day Parade at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, which starts at 4000 N Lincoln Avenue to Wilson Avenue, continue north on Western Avenue and end in the Festival area, as well as German beer and foods. The Von Streuben German Day Parade celebrates Baron Friedrich von Steuben, who came to the U.S. as a volunteer offering his services to General George Washington. It is said that General von Steuben converted the revolutionary army into a disciplined fighting force, instilling in them much needed inspiration, confidence and competence. The parade includes hundreds of participants who march, dance, play music or ride the many beautiful floats on Lincoln Avenue.
The Berghoff Oktoberfest (September 12 - 14, 2012): The 27th annual Berghoff Oktoberfest, held at the John C. Kluczynski Federal Plaza at Adams and Dearborn Streets, features Bavarian-style classic German food, beer, live entertainment. The outside portion will offer daily lunch-time, traditional German performances by Johnny Wagner Band and will feature nightly shows by some of Chicago's favorite bands, including Wedding Banned, Maggie Speaks, and Modern Day Romeos. Last year's event had what was reported to be a 45 FOOT BRAT. Not sure if this year's event will also have the special brat. This year's festival will have Herman the German - the festival's official mascot that will be hitting the streets all over Chicago. Sometimes he'll be handing out coupons or flyers, other times it will be free mini-brats. "Spot" him for a chance to win prizes including a VIP party for five friends at the festival, gift certificates, and more. And to honor Oktoberfest’s origin as a celebration for Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese of Bavaria in 1810, the Berghoff is calling all engaged couples and asking them to explain why they deserve to be crowned as the festival's prince and princess.
Oktoberfest Chicago (September 28-30, 2012): St. Alphonsus's Oktoberfest rounds out Chicago's outdoor festival season with bratwurst, beer, and music. This annual Oktoberfest takes place at Lincoln and Southport Avenues and benefits the St. Alphonsus church, which is one of the oldest in Chicago. $5 admission. Bands will include Sixteen Candles, Polkaholics, School of Rock, and more. This fesstival also includes a Kinderfest on the 30th that includes kid-centric activities like crafts and a bouncy house, polka dance lessons, authentic German food, and more. You can also experience this Oktoberfest like a true Bavarian by becoming a Brewmaster. This exclusive Brewmaster package includes, for $100, a commemorative 2012 Oktoberfest stoneware stein (a full liter) for toasting German drinking songs; stein refills; four weekend passes to the festival; two complimentary brats; and more. (Planning a visit to Munich, Germany for the world's largest Oktoberfest? Check out our Oktoberfest Munich 2012 Guide, as well our Tips on Planning Your Oktoberfest Munich trip.)
Looking for more fun things to do this September? Check out events this September in one of Chicago's "sister cities," Milwaukee. You can also enjoy some time outside, especially since September is one of Chicago's best "weather" months, with a Chicago walking tour or be a "visitor" in your own city and check the Art Institute of Chicago.