As promised, some more substance to this Oktoberfest thing.
We’re smack in the middle of Oktoberfest right now; it runs from September 16th through October 3rd this year. This seems to be a source of confusion for people, since the name "Oktoberfest" seems like it should, naturally, fall entirely in October, but in fact it always starts in September. The reasoning for this is historical and mostly weather-related: it’s warmer in September.
Generally, the formula is: 16 days up to and including the first Sunday in October.
Wikipedia has quite an impressive Oktoberfest article; not only is the history comprehensive, but there’s also a detailed breakdown of Oktoberfest dates out through 2015 (with some detail on special dates) and even details on the 14 main tents on the Munich celebration.
A good place to find local Oktoberfest celebrations is on BeerAdvocate’s event calendar; I notice there’s a bunch coming up this weekend.
The Hop Talk blog has a bunch of good Oktoberfest posts, and I especially wanted to point out the "Oktoberfest Beer Battle" posts: Sam vs. Saranac, Round 2, and Defending Champion from Brooklyn. I love it! He even made a chart showing the competition and latest winners (Saranac, Paulaner, Brooklyn) in the latest post.
And, the other day I got into the spirit of it all myself with a bottle of Paulaner, which I’ll be reviewing here shortly.
Someday, though, I’ll be in Munich for the Main Event…