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September 13, 2023

Oktoberfest, Restaurant Week and a bunch of bees: Your weekend guide to things to do

West Philly's now-shuttered Leader Theater will play 'Night of the Living Dead,' the last movie screened there before it closed in 1968

Weekend Things To Do
Weekend guide Oktoberfest Provided image/Brauhaus Schmitz

Oktoberfest celebrations begin this Saturday at Human Robot, the Philadelphia Zoo and on South Street.

Prost, Philadelphia: This weekend marks the kickoff of Oktoberfest in the city, as German restaurants, breweries and the zoo host parties celebrating Bavarian culture.

Not into brews and brats? Oktoberfest isn't the only culinary event in town. Dozens of restaurants are currently offering discounted three-course meals for Center City Restaurant Week, the biannual promotion featuring cuisines from all over the globe. Locally harvested honey will also be available for purchase at a two-day festival, but the real draw there is the bee beards.

And if you simply want to get spooked, catch "Night of the Living Dead" at the Leader Theater, which played the zombie parable during its original 1968 run. 

Grab a three-course dinner for $45

Center City Restaurant Week officially started on Sept. 10 and will continue through this weekend. Over 100 restaurants in the neighborhood are offering $45 three-course meals until Sept. 23, along with specialty whiskey or vodka cocktails for an additional fee. Select spots will serve $20 lunches or $60 "premium" menus featuring steak and whole fish.

Sample honey and watch a pro cover himself in bees

Pollinators take center stage on Saturday and Sunday for a free honey festival in Germantown and Southwest Philly. Watch in amazement and/or horror as a beekeeper covers his body with thousands of buzzing insects for a bee beard demonstration, or check out a live honey extraction from the combs. Local honey vendors will sell jars of the sweet syrup at both fest locations — the Wyck Historic House on Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and Bartram's Garden on Sunday (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Sip from a stein at Oktoberfest parties

Partake in the rich German cultural tradition of drinking beer out of enormous glasses at one of Philly's many Oktoberfest parties, which begin this weekend. On Saturday, Brauhaus Schmitz's 15th annual celebration comes to South Street, while Human Robot will bring its yearly U.S. vs. German beer tasting (with bonus yodeling) back to Kensington. That evening, the Philadelphia Zoo will host OktoBEARfest, the only Oktoberfest featuring live lions and bears, for the first time in five years.

Watch a classic horror film in a long-closed movie theater

The Leader Theater in West Philadelphia ended its run as a movie theater in 1968 with showings of the now-classic horror movie "Night of the Living Dead." On Saturday, the zombie flick will play again as part of a Now + Then Marketplace pop-up. Vendors selling vinyl, books and vintage clothing will be at the theater from 12-6 p.m., while food and drink vendors will be on-site until 8 p.m. Analog experts will host workshops demonstrating how to use music synthesizers and how to transfer data to cassette tapes.

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