Originally published Friday, September 16, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Oom-pah-pah! It's Oktoberfest in Leavenworth

The German-theme town of Leavenworth hosts Oktoberfest starting in late September and continuing into October.

Seattle Times travel writer

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Itching to get out of the city? Brush up on your German and head across the mountains to Munich ... Sorry, we mean Leavenworth.

Why leave town: To take a fall drive and get your annual oom-pah-pah fix. The colors are beautiful this time of the year along Highway 2 through the Cascade mountains. If you're into all things German, Leavenworth is the closest we have to Munich.

What's the event: Oktoberfest.

When and where: The weekends of Sept. 30-Oct. 1; Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 14-15. Hours: 6 p.m.- 1 a.m. Fridays and noon-1 a.m. Saturdays; around downtown Leavenworth.

What's so special: Leavenworth is a year-round Bavarian-themed town, but nothing compares to its annual Oktoberfest extravaganza. The beer and bratwurst flow. There's arts, crafts and music, and for those with a sweet tooth, German-style cake and root-beer floats.

What to expect: Crowds (reserve a hotel room early). What started 13 years ago as a single weekend has grown to include three weekends and four venues. More than 30,000 are expected to come for the beer, food and live entertainment, including musicians from Germany.

What's in it for families: Oktoberfest is great fun for kids as well as adults. Headquarters for family fun is Kinderplatz, an area dedicated to kids, with a rock-climbing wall, bouncy toys and clowns.

Cost: Tickets are $10-$15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Minors are allowed until 9 p.m.

Learn more about it:

Carol Pucci:

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