As an entrepreneur, I’m more than familiar with the demands on life being an entrepreneur makes and the level of commitment running your own business takes. When I was offered the opportunity to review Sheryl O’Loughlin’s Killing It! An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart, I jumped at it. I’m always looking for more ways I can balance being an entrepreneur with being a wife and mom of three going on four. It’s not always easy.
Killing It! has chapters on love, partnerships, romance, children, friendships, and the need for a supportive tribe of others. Especially in a situation like mine, where I’m doing what I do from home, it’s important to reach out and find other people who are trying to do the same thing. A tribe is one of the most valuable assets an entrepreneur can have. O’Loughlin writes:
“It may not be faith based, but entrepreneurs are a tribe, too. That’s why whenever an entrepreneur asks for my advice, I take the time to give it to him. I know him; I know what he’s facing…We need to support each other so we become stronger over time and create increasingly better businesses for the world.” (62)
Entrepreneurs, like bloggers, do make up a special tribe. We face special challenges – like – how do you bootstrap this new business venture enough to ensure that a venture capitalist, angel investor, or the Small Business Association lenders will see that you have a viable idea? Or how do you ensure that this idea you’re passionate about doesn’t take over every corner of your dining roo-er-life? It’s good to surround oneself with others who think and do similar things. In fact, the right people at the right time can serve as outstanding mentors.
Later chapters in the book deal with risk, money, health, humility, and the ability to let go when necessary. Starting up business ventures is not for the feint of heart. You have to be willing to learn more than you thought you needed to know, work longer hours than you thought you could work, and put up with a substantial amount of risk before your business starts actually making money. You need to put in the time. This can sometimes lead entrepreneur-type-folks to embrace unhealthy eating habits and claim they never have time to exercise.
Because of the level of stress involved with startups, it’s important to find ways to reduce stress, avoid burnout, and stay healthy. O’Loughlin writes:
“I’m far from the only entrepreneur with a hard-charging personality–it’s how most of us are wired. Entrepreneurs have to be driven in order to want to take on such a job, and in order to succeed at it. But as the saying goes: ‘Your greatest strength can also be your greatest weakness.’ Because what do you thin happens when you take someone who is not prone to self-care, who gets laser focused, who is used to facing ten people’s worth of work and getting it done and then some, and put that person in a scenario where the workload is truly unmanageable, where the stakes are high, where the workload is truly unmanageable, where there is little about the outcome he or she can control, and where no one is giving him or her an A++, let alone a ‘job well done’? What do you thin happens when this person faces failure, possibly for the first time, as he or she almost inevitably will? It seems lie a recipe for a crash, and it is.
As someone who is recovering from crashing headfirst into the burnout wall, I can honestly say that this describes the experience of many entrepreneurs. Particularly those trying to “do it all.”
If you run your own show or you’re thinking of starting a business, Sheryl O’Loughlin’s book will give you tips from the inside on how to succeed in this venture. The book is well-written, and I appreciate the honesty and candor with which she looks at this lifestyle. Reading the book is like sitting down at a coffee shop with someone who has been there.
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (December 6, 2016)
The former CEO of Clif Bar, Co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences. With a foreword by Steve Blank.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work. But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide. It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.
Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way. In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing companies (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (Stanford University). She tells it like it is: If you don’t invest in your wellbeing, your business will not succeed, nor will you.
Sheryl knows firsthand the difficulty of balancing the needs of her growing family with her physical and mental health, while managing other work and life challenges. In this warm, honest, and wise handbook, she gives you the essentials for killing it in business—without killing the rest of your life.
Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions including:
The ultimate life and business course, Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.
Sheryl O’Loughlin earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She is the CEO of REBBL super-herb beverages, and she previously served as the CEO of Clif Bar, where she led the concept development and introduction of Luna Bars, and was the cofounder and CEO of Plum Organics. She is the former executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in Santa Rosa, California, with her husband, Patrick, and her two sons.
Can you believe it’s 2017 already? I can’t. Of course, I spent the last quarter of it battling some sort of nasty respiratory virus that cleared up just in time for December Madness – two birthdays, Christmas, New Years, and all of the planing that goes with that. My word for 2017 is “Reclaiming.” You may be wondering what that’s about, well, let me tell you about it.
Since my daughter was born in 2013, a lot of things have slid – my hair, my nose piercing closed up, and though I do love fabulous fashion, I haven’t put the effort in that I’d like to when it comes to having a wardrobe I love. In fact – LOL – most of my clothes are old and being held together with threads – the clothes that fit, that is. Of course, I’m pregnant now too, so fixing some of these things will wait until the second half of the year (like finally getting the phoenix tattoo I’ve wanted for years). So basically, I want to reclaim the fabulousness that has sort of faded in the shadow of baby and toddler tending. It’s still there, but in the wake of my husband’s job change, moving twice in the past year and a half, and all of the craziness that comes from that, I’ve let some of my usual things slide. It’s time to stop that.
This year, I think, has good things in store. I have more book reviews to share with you; I’m looking forward to selling more of my handmade goodies (you can find my Facebook group for that here, please request to join); my teenager is graduating and heading off to college; a new baby will be joining our family in May. Lots of good stuff! I’m looking forward to getting some of the guest posts I’ve accepted up, and to sharing older wine notes with you. Before I got pregnant, we had some great wine last year.
What are your plans for the new year? Have you chosen a theme-word for the year? Do you have resolutions or goals for the new year? Please share them in the comments!
Brrrr…it’s getting cold outside. Well, at least, it’s starting to here in Kansas, anyway. It’s been a good while since I’ve done a pattern test, and when I saw that Anne Jacobs of Sofilantjes was doing a call for testers for a jacket, I knew I needed to sign up. The pattern includes directions for a cropped jacket, a long A-line jacket, and a dress. The Sofilantjes Foliis Jacket & Dress pattern has a hood and options for long or 3/4 length sleeves. I made the long jacket option with long sleeves for my gal.
For the jacket, I used this gorgeous Verhees jersey Hologram Elephant digital print I got from Mabel Madison. Originally, I had planned to make something for little guy using this fabric and some French terry I have (also from Mabel Madison). I wound up choosing to make the Foliis from these two fabrics instead (and I have just enough left to still make little guy the shirt I’d wanted to make him). The fabrics are soft, and while the elephant print is not sweatshirt or French terry fabric, it is thick and heavy enough to hold up for this project.
In the same style as other Sofilantjes’ patterns, the Foliis is easy to follow. Anne Jacobs breaks down the steps into easy-to follow directions that are the big reason I enjoy making her designs. The Foliis itself is not piece-heavy. Every pattern piece serves a functional purpose, and the illustrations were great. I made the 18 months size for my petite almost-3 year old girl. When pinning into place to cut, it’s important to make sure the words and the graphic on the pattern are going in the same direction. I wanted to be sure my elephants would all be the right way when the project was finished.
I used the elephants for the body of the jacket and for the outer hood and the French terry on the cuffs and hood lining. The zipper was easy to modify and install given the instructions in the pattern. I decided to add a beaded zipper pull for a little bit of flair. The whole thing was quick to sew up – but it did require a bit of hand sewing. I put on the latest This Is Us episode and stitched the hood lining to the neckline in what seemed like no time at all (in reality, it took the episode plus a little extra time to finish.)
I finished sewing my test early, but we had to leave town. The teenager was set to visit Simpson College in Indianola and Creighton University in Omaha. I took the finished jacket with us on our trip so I could take photos on one of the college campuses. There was a gorgeous park next to Simpson College that worked perfectly for the photo shoot. The jacket fits Little Miss perfectly – AND she loves it. It’s a win-win situation. We got lots of compliments on it while we were hanging out around town. It was 40 degrees once it warmed up, but still pretty windy and cool. Even though the jacket was made of jersey, she was warm enough in it to be comfortable for photos.
Sofilantjes’ Foliis Jacket and Dress pattern is on sale for €6.05 ($5.30 USD) here until 11/30/2016 (affiliate link).
I received a testing and final copy of the Foliis pattern in exchange for my honest feedback on the pattern. All opinions about the pattern are my own.
I’m thinking it would be really neat in a quilted cotton jersey. 🙂 What kind of fabric do you want to see the Foliis made up in?
I have been dealing with nasty chronic pain for almost 5 years now. I took an antibiotic, Cipro, that wreaked havoc on my entire body. Some days, just standing up is a chore. Other days, I feel fine. When I was offered the opportunity to review the book Forever Painless by Miranda Esmonde-White, I jumped at the chance, hoping that I might garner some new knowledge about things I can do to combat the pain in my life.
The premise of Esmonde-White’s book is that we need to move more to combat pain using the Essentrics method. This method involves stretching and muscle conditioning. She wants doctors to pay more attention to the role chronic pain plays in health and wellness, and she wants it to become a routine part of our checkups – and one that doesn’t immediately and automatically resort to medication when it crops up. I can definitely jump aboard that ship. Prior to getting pregnant again, I was relying on the smallest dose of Motrin possible to get through the day relatively pain-free. That’s a dependency I’d rather not have. I cannot take stronger medications since I tend to be allergic to everything.
Through the early chapters of the book, Esmonde-White talks about the root causes of chronic pain as well as the body’s built-in mechanisms for healing pain. She then talks about how a sedentary lifestyle can lead to chronic pain. Many of our modern jobs are built on sitting. She writes:
When we wake up in the morning, we usually feel a little stiff from a long night of immobility. The less we move upon waking, the stiffer we feel–but after some stretching, the stiffness can go away.
Magnify that just-out-of-bed stiffness many times over, and you may better understand the sort of stiffness that many people chalk up to the aging process. Most people respond to this discomfort by moving less. But the less we move, the more our connective tissue solidifies, creating a chain reaction and exacerbating the problem. Remember: Pain is a message from the brain telling us that there is something dangerous happening to our body. The message of stiffness is a precursor to the pain message. (p.27)
This theory does make sense, as many times when I feel pain it is after having spent a day resting – because I felt pain! My back pain is the worst if I sleep in. I feel like I can barely move. I also have a lot of hip pain following my last pregnancy that manifests most after I sit for a while.
Once you’ve read through the introductory chapters, Esmonde-White introduces her readers to the exercises one can do to help combat pain. She organizes this section by area where one is having pain. This is really helpful for those who want to stick to her promise of helping you to “reclaim your life in 30 minutes a day.” You can follow her structure and focus on the areas that need to be focused on.
Overall, I’m hoping that following the guidelines in this book will help me to get on a path to being consistently pain-free. I recommend it for anyone who is looking for ways to fight back against chronic pain in low-impact ways without resorting to medications.
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (November 15, 2016)
End chronic pain—for good—with this practical guide from the PBS personality behind Classical Stretch and author of the New York Times bestseller Aging Backwards.
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. But the human body is not meant to endure chronic pain. Miranda Esmonde-White has spent decades helping professional athletes, ballet dancers, and Olympians overcome potentially career-ending injuries and guiding MS patients and cancer survivors toward pain-free mobility. Now, in Forever Painless, she shows everyone how to heal their aching bodies and live pain free.
The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. We need to move our bodies to refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells. Without physical activity, our cells become stagnant and decay, accelerating the aging process and causing pain. People who suffer chronic pain often become sedentary, afraid that movement and activity will make things worse, when just the opposite is true: movement is essential to healing. In Forever Painless, Miranda provides detailed instructions for gentle exercise designed to ease discomfort in the feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck—allowing anyone to live happier, healthier, and pain-free no matter their age.
Miranda Esmonde-White is one of America’s greatest advocates and educators on healthy aging. She is best known for her PBS fitness show Classical Stretch, which has been on the air since 1999. A former ballerina, she designed the Essentrics technique, which uses low-intensity strength and stretch exercises to relieve pain, prevent injury, and slenderize the body. Esmonde-White works with professional and Olympic athletes and celebrities, and teaches classes to thousands of students worldwide each year.
Follow Esmonde-White on Facebook.
I was excited to review Earning It by Joann S. Lublin. As a small business owner, I figured there would be some tips in this book to help me succeed, and there are. But, I also found the chapter on sexual harassment in this book to be problematic. The advice? The equivalent of “Don’t make yourself easily harassed and suck it up, Buttercup.”
Perhaps it’s the fact that so many women I know who reported sexual harassment had this prematurely destroy their careers, while they experienced backlash from not only those reported but other women in their workplace. Perhaps it’s the fact that I chose myself to not make a big deal about the fact that I was called a “dumb broad” during a presentation by a male superior, and when I took it to his superior I was told “You could have a case, or you could have a career.” Either way, telling women, “Don’t put yourself in positions where you get harassed” and “Suck it up if you want to get ahead,” are akin to telling a woman not to get herself raped.
I don’t think that was the intent of Lublin. I believe she thinks that the advice dispensed in the chapter is sound advice – because it’s the advice that many of us have been given in our careers. I just also don’t think that the advice really helps when there is a situation where, say, a coworker is regularly watching pornography on his computer or where “locker room” banter is prevalent and makes the women in the office uncomfortable. It’s no more helpful than telling girls not to wear short skirts – because as we all know, women who wear pants get raped too.
I think as long as one is reading this book with a keen sense of “This is the traditional advice that has been given to women,” there are real gems of advice to gain from it. But telling a woman to avoid her harasser and stay out of his way is a valid method of dealing with sexual harassment long-term just continues to perpetuate the problem.
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: HarperBusiness (October 18, 2016)
More than fifty trailblazing executive women who broke the corporate glass ceiling offer inspiring and surprising insights and lessons in this essential, in-the-trenches career guide from Joann S. Lublin, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and management news editor for The Wall Street Journal.
Among the first female reporters at The Wall Street Journal, Joann S. Lublin faced a number of uphill battles in her career. She became deputy bureau chief of the Journal’s important London bureau, its first run by women. Now, she and dozens of other women who successfully navigated the corporate battlefield share their valuable leadership lessons.
Lublin combines her fascinating story with insightful tales from more than fifty women who reached the highest rungs of the corporate ladder—most of whom became chief executives of public companies —in industries as diverse as retailing, manufacturing, finance, high technology, publishing, advertising, automobiles, and pharmaceuticals. Leaders like Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, as well as Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee, were the first women to run their huge employers. Earning It reveals obstacles such women faced as they fought to make their mark, choices they made, and battles they won—and lost.
Lublin chronicles the major milestones and dilemmas of the work world unique to women, providing candid advice and practical inspiration for women of all ages and at every stage of their careers. The extraordinary women we meet in the pages of Earning It and the hard-won lessons they share provide a compelling career compass that will help all women reach their highest potential without losing a meaningful personal life.
Joann S. Lublin is management news editor for The Wall Street Journal and works with reporters in the U.S. and abroad. She frequently appears at conferences to discuss leadership, executive pay and corporate governance. She created The Journal’s first career advice column in 1993. She shared its Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for stories about corporate scandals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with honors from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University. She lives in Ridgewood, N.J.
Sometimes, it helps to understand what someone else may have been through; sometimes, it helps to read about someone who has survived in the most dire of circumstances. In Girl Unbroken by Regina Calcaterra and Rosie Maloney, we follow the lives of five siblings with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother through their abusive upbringing. There are parts of this book that made me angry, and there are parts of this book that really warmed my heart. The hardest part is when the siblings are separated and Rosie’s fate becomes much darker and scarier. The book celebrates strength – emotional and physical, and it celebrates continuing to fight to get through the violence and abuse to come out the other side stronger, and unbroken.
This is another book I recommend without reservation. You won’t be able to put it down.
• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 18, 2016)
In the highly anticipated sequel to her New York Times bestseller Etched in Sand, Regina Calcaterra pairs with her youngest sister Rosie to tell Rosie’s harrowing, yet ultimately triumphant, story of childhood abuse and survival.
They were five kids with five different fathers and an alcoholic mother who left them to fend for themselves for weeks at a time. Yet through it all they had each other. Rosie, the youngest, is fawned over and shielded by her older sister, Regina. Their mother, Cookie, blows in and out of their lives “like a hurricane, blind and uncaring to everything in her path.”
But when Regina discloses the truth about her abusive mother to her social worker, she is separated from her younger siblings Norman and Rosie. And as Rosie discovers after Cookie kidnaps her from foster care, the one thing worse than being abandoned by her mother is living in Cookie’s presence. Beaten physically, abused emotionally, and forced to labor at the farm where Cookie settles in Idaho, Rosie refuses to give in. Like her sister Regina, Rosie has an unfathomable strength in the face of unimaginable hardship—enough to propel her out of Idaho and out of a nightmare.
Filled with maturity and grace, Rosie’s memoir continues the compelling story begun in Etched in Sand—a shocking yet profoundly moving testament to sisterhood and indomitable courage.
Regina Calcaterra, Esq. is the bestselling author of Etched in Sand: A True Story of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island, which has been integrated into academic curriculums nationwide. She is a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and is a passionate advocate for children in foster care.
Sometimes, you want to read a book that knocks you on your feet with the story it tells. When I agreed to review Carry On, I was excited because the story sounded so good. I’ve always been a big fan of books and films that let you get to know someone – either fiction or biography – to the point where you feel that you know that person. Lisa Finn’s Carry On is one of those books.
The only constant was the black canvas duffel bag Dartanyon carried with him, large enough to fit a child. Having worked as a detention officer in the juvenile justice system, McKinney knew what that bag meant. ‘Nobody needs to carry a bag that big unless they are carrying everything they own, to a destination unknown,’ McKinney said. Dartanyon was transient.
Kerry McKinney was a wrestling coach who wound up in one of Ohio’s most impoverished schools. When he came into the gymnasium, he learned that most of the kids were barefoot and that the team only had two pairs of shoes for seven kids. He recruited Dartanyon to be on the wrestling team due to his size, and noted his skill for learning the wrestling moves. He moved smoothly…and then…McKinney learned Dartanyon was blind.
From the first pages, Carry On draws you in. From Torry Robinson taking over the team and meeting Leroy Sutton, a “Lower-extremity double amputee” to the piecing together of a family born of love rather than blood, this book is beautiful in its storytelling as well as the story itself. Fenn does a majestic job of showing these two phenomenal athletes and telling their stories.
I strongly recommend this book. It’s possibly the best I’ve read thus far this year.
• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (August 16, 2016)
In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.
Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.
Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.
As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.
Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.
More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.
A three-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award and a six-time Emmy Award—winning feature producer with ESPN for thirteen years, LISA FENN interviewed every big name in sports. Today she is a sought-after public presenter, speaking on leadership, poverty, and trans-racial adoption, in addition to her Christian faith and its relevance in both her media career and her daily life. Lisa received her BA in communications from Cornell University. Her work has been featured on ESPN,Good Morning America, and World News Tonight. She continues to produce sports stories and write about the redemptive power of love. Lisa resides in Boston with her husband and two young children.
Connect with Lisa on Facebook.
It’s October. That means it’s time to start thinking about breast cancer awareness, but it’s also time to start thinking about the holidays. What if I told you that you can stock up on great wine while also helping breast cancer research? You can, by purchasing OneHope Wines #DrinkPink campaign wines and products. In addition to supporting various causes, when you make a purchase from OneHope, you’re also supporting an entrepreneur looking to build her business.
Be sure to read through to the end, where you’ll find a giveaway for a Drink Pink water bottle (worth $33, and big enough to hold an entire bottle of wine – not that I advocate that kind of thing – wink).
The OneHope vineyard is in the Rutherford AVA in Napa Valley. There are plans for developing an on-site winery with a tasting room. The company was founded by eight individuals who wanted to allow people to enjoy wine while also helping their communities. They consult w,ith Rob Mondavi, son of wine mogul Michael Mondavi, to make their quality wines.
With each sale of OneHope Wines, donations are made to various causes. According the about page on their website:
“To date we have made more than $2 million* in donations, providing over 2,600* clinical trials for cancer patients, 13,000* forever homes for shelter animals, 1.1* million meals for children, 33,000 life-saving vaccines and much more.”
That’s a lot of really good things being helped along through the sales of wines. When I spoke with representative Christine Kinney, and I learned about both the variety of wines available and OneHope’s mission, I knew I had to share information about this company with my readers. You can learn more about the wines by watching this video.
OneHope offers a variety of wines from a 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir to a 2015 Lodi Symphony wine (I have notes on another Symphony wine that I need to share with you soon). Sales of two bottles of the 2013 Pink Glitter Edition California Chardonnay go to fund a clinical trial for one woman who has breast cancer. This wine has aromas of apple and pear pie, butterscotch, vanilla, and toffee, making it a wonderful white wine for fall. The glitter bottle makes it a festive addition to a girls’ night.
In addition to wines, OneHope offers coffee and gift products. OneHope coffee proceeds go to help small businesses in developing countries (in fact, the sale of one of the gift boxes available, the Good Karma Gift Box), funds a microloan. Other products include aprons and oven mitts, bestie wine glasses, and dog bowls. All product sales support various causes. It’s a pretty neat company. I’m looking for Baby 4’s arrival in May for many reasons, but I’ll be able to taste some of their wines then.
Enter to win a water bottle that can hold an entire bottle of wine – er – water! Meanwhile, if you’re able to, support this great effort to combine two things I love – wine and philanthropy.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Please enjoy this guest post courtesy of Harry Parsons from Arcadia Publishing.
Germany isn’t the only country that looks forward to Oktoberfest every year. It’s just as popular here in America, and it’s not hard to see why. To begin with, many Americans are of German descent themselves. Also, what red-blooded American doesn’t love a good reason to eat fantastic food, drink delicious brews of all kinds, and celebrate life in excellent company?
Even so, not all Oktoberfest celebrations are necessarily created equally, and you don’t need to shell out the cash for a plane ticket to Munich to experience a great one. The following are just a few of the most epic Oktoberfest celebrations that take place every year right here in the United States of America. Some might say they’re so exceptional that they are worth traveling for! Consider adding one or more to your end-of-summer to-do list if you’re still deciding where and how to celebrate this year.
If you live in the Austin, Texas area (or are planning to be there this November), you really might want to consider giving Wurstfest a gander. This is no modest weekend celebration, by any means. It’s a full 10-day festival that celebrates Bavarian culture in all the best ways. Family friendly activities include multiple carnival rides, a polka competition, and plenty of live music. Sample Bavarian fare to please any palate, and drink your fill of plenty of different beers as well.
Also, you should know that the entire town of New Braunfels magically transforms into a different place during those ten days, so don’t just limit yourself to the festival grounds. Enjoy special wurst-themed comedy performances at the Circle Arts Theatre. Check out Kunstalle as well, which is a seasonal arts and crafts market that sets up shop right next to Wurstfest itself.
Chicago is already well known for its long-standing ties to beer, brewing, and all things German, thanks to the high numbers of German-American citizens who have called it home over the years. That said, it’s probably not surprising to learn that it’s also home to more than 25 different Oktoberfest celebrations over the months of September and October.
However, the St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest really stands out for taking place in and around the historic Lakeview church for which it’s named. Are you a craft brew enthusiast? You won’t want to miss Craft Beer Night, a golden opportunity to meet and greet more than 20 regional brewers, as well as sample their very best beers. Planning on bringing the little ones with you? You’ll love Kinderfest, a family friendly event complete with face painting, dance parties, and plenty of delicious German food that’s sure to please younger palates, as well as adult ones.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati isn’t just one of the most famous American Oktoberfest celebrations. Over half a million people attend each and every year, so it’s also the largest one in the entire United States. Naturally, it’s the place to be if you feel Oktoberfest is all about the food. Enjoy best loved staples like real German bratwurst, sauerkraut balls, potato pancakes, strudel, pretzels, and – of course – a wide array of German and domestic beers.
The entertainment is also top-notch here. Take in some live music at any one of the seven stages you’ll find set up within the festival grounds. Watch a beer stein race featuring traditional German waitresses. Check out a real live barrel roll as well.
If you’re located on the west coast, then you’ll definitely want to consider making a trip to beautiful San Francisco for Oktoberfest by the Bay. It’s well known for its Old World ambiance and traditional feel. Plus, what could possibly make a cold beer and a perfectly salted pretzel taste better than a gorgeous ocean view from Pier 48?
Join an eclectic mix of festival goers from all walks of life in a toast to all things Bavarian. Enjoy the stylings of the locally based, 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band. Indulge in second helpings of all your favorite German dishes – everything from soft pretzels, to juicy sausages, to strudel. Don’t forget to join in the non-stop singing and dancing as well!
Oktoberfest Denver isn’t quite the biggest celebration in the country, but it certainly comes close, with more than 350,000 people in attendance every year. Denver is also nothing if not a completely unique city with its own special vibe, so you can rest assured that their approach to Oktoberfest stands out as well.
For instance, there’s a variety of unique activities to be enjoyed. They include the incredible Stein Hoisting Competition, the Keg Bowling National Championship, and the Long Dog Derby (yes, an actual wiener dog race). That’s in addition to an abundance of cheerful traditional music, concerts from award-winning artists, mouth-watering German cuisine, and as much delicious beer as you could possibly hope for.
If you’re the type of person who wants your Oktoberfest experience to be as authentic as possible, then look no further than Washington’s Leavenworth Oktoberfest. Those who list it among their favorite celebrations describe it as the next best thing to celebrating in Munich itself.
Enjoy an impressively expansive selection of traditional German foods, a large collection of beers from around the world, and non-stop live music of all kinds (including traditional music from German bands flown in from the motherland). For those who can’t picture Oktoberfest without a good parade, there’s a wonderful one through the town each Saturday. Don’t forget to stick around for the mayor’s Keg Tapping Ceremony! It happens just after the parade and marks the official start to each weekend of the festival.
Of course, these are just a few of the many incredible Oktoberfest celebrations taking place all across the United States throughout the late summer and fall. Consider adding a few to your own itinerary or Oktoberfest bucket list!