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Best Encounter with Polka Dancers in the Forest 

German Tourist Club (aka Oakland Nature Friends)

The nature lovers and festival enthusiasts of the German Tourist Club, also known as Oakland Nature Friends, have been drinking beer from a big cup, partying at noon, and chillin' in the sunshine since 1912. United in a quest to celebrate fresh air and family fun, they dance, they hike, and they prove that you don't have to live in the mountains of Bavaria to revel in the age-old, quintessentially German tradition of grooving on the forest. You can do it right here in the sun-drenched, eucalyptus-scented Oakland hills. Visitors are allowed at the alpine lodge most weekends (check the web site; there are some restrictions) but the all-ages festivals are where the action is. The next few months bring Biergartenfest, Herbstfest, and Oktoberfest, where the best seats are in the nap-inducing Adirondack chairs between the outdoor dance floor and the sausage vendor. Break out the lederhosen and the fancy knee socks or come as you are, round up the old folks and the kids, head for the hills, and get your polka on.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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