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The Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest

With no Taste of Cleveland this year, the place to go this weekend for some serious outdoor eating is the Cleveland Labor Day Oktoberfest at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. And you know Germans: They take their food — and their beer — seriously. The offerings don’t stop at brats, sauerkraut, and Warsteiners — although if you don’t watch your intake, you may. Also on the menu are Polish, Italian, Asian, Hungarian, and soul-food treats, dished up by local restaurants like Der Braumeister, Seven Roses, Balaton, and Hot Sauce Williams. You can digest that food to an appropriate soundtrack, provided by bands ranging from Cincinnati’s lederhosen-clad Bier Band to Springsteen tribute Stone Pony. Wandering the midway between stops at food tents, you’ll also encounter the Frisch Marionette Company, a costumed human glockenspiel that activates on the hour, a sand sculpture of the Budweiser Clydesdales, wiener dog races, ethnic dancers from virtually any country you can think of, and the masskrugstemmen contest with qualifying rounds at 8:30 p.m. each day and finals at 4 p.m. on Monday. What’s that, you ask? It tests the athlete’s ability to hold a full beer stein in his or her outstretched hand. Top that, Olympians! Hours are 5 p.m. to midnight today, noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. on Monday.

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