Posted by Rae Lynn on 9/17/2013 to International
Oktoberfest began with a wedding—and what a wedding it must have been. On 12 October 1810, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Everyone in Munich was invited to the ceremony and celebration, which included horse races. The horse racing continued the next year, and a tradition was born.
Of course, it’s the food, drink and party atmosphere that continue today. The Lord Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at high noon on 21 September and invite all visitors to quench their thirst.
Read on for 10 reasons why Rae Lynn celebrates Oktoberfest—and for Oktoberfest party ideas that will make your festivities royal.
10. You or one of your best friends has German ancestry. You may be as surprised as Rae Lynn to learn that the largest ethnic group in the Unites States is German-Americans. How large? Some 49.8 million according to the 2010 census, which counted 308.7 million of us in total. That means about one in six of us has a German ancestor who traditions we need to carry on.
9. You can’t make it to Munich. Oktoberfest runs Saturday, 21 September, through Sunday, 6 October. But Rae Lynn checked and the cheapest roundtrip flight from Nashville to Munich runs $1152. Sadly I won’t be one of the 6+ million visitors to Oktoberfest this year—but happily I can still celebrate here.
8. You love lederhosen. Leather shorts on men? Count Rae Lynn in. That’s reason enough to throw a party—and to encourage guests to dress for the occasion. On women, the milkmaid outfits known as dirndls are equally fetching, especially if you can sport long blonde braids too. And the green Alpine hats known as Tiroler hütte will get everyone in the mood.
7. You’re partial to light blue-and-white harlequin patterns. The true Oktoberfest colors are those of the flag of Bavaria, one of Germany’s states.
So get a tablecloth, plates, and beads in white and blue, either in solids or mixed, diamonds or checks. Another option for Oktoberfest decorations is to use the colors of the German flag, and decorate in red, black and gold. Then roll out the Wilkommen mat!
6. You want to throw one last outdoor party this year. Oktoberfest gives you a chance to recreate Munich’s Hofbräuhaus right in your backyard. Tents with long tables are traditional, so pull out your picnic tables and rent a canopy if you don’t own one. Start the festivities early—at 9 am if you want to emulate folks in Munich—and plan to gather around your fire ring when the evening chill sets in.
5. You’ve got a hankering for German food. Although Rae Lynn tends to favor lighter fare, when the cool weather hits, the heavier German food becomes appealing. It’s not all sausages and sauerkraut, of course. Expand your German food horizons with roast chicken, pork roast, potato pancakes with apple butter or apple sauce, and German potato salad. And it’s amazing how well German desserts go with beer. So pair your brews with well-known German Chocolate Cake, Black Forest Cherry Cake or, Rae Lynn’s favorite, Apple Strudel. Lekker!
4. You love pretzels as much as Rae Lynn does. As Wikipedia notes, German monks probably made the first pretzels . Happily pretzels have been a part of German baking tradition for years. You can start your own tradition by making bread dough available to parents and kids alike and letting them form their own pretzels, traditional or not. Offer your guests all kinds of sprinkles, including salt, seeds, chopped nuts, and flavored sugars.
3. You need a polka fix. It’s easy to make fun of oompah, bands with their accordions and tubas, and songs like the Chicken Dance—until you remember how much fun they are. And don’t forget the classic Ein Prosit. Hire a small band for your party or download some traditional and contemporary German songs. Need ideas? Check with Stu for the lowdown. Then make sure you’ve cleared a flat space for dancing—the more brews get downed, the more party-goers get down.
2. You like beer, beer and more beer. If you’re lucky, you have a local microbrewery that makes a brew just for Oktoberfest. If you can find several brews, give each of your guests a beer stein and do a blind taste test. If your area (sadly) is low on microbreweries, open one. Or try any of the popular Oktoberfest beers on the market, including Mendocino Oktoberfest Beer from California, Stoudts Oktoberfest Beer from Pennsylvania, Samuel Adams Octoberfest Beer from Massachusetts or Paulaner Oktoberfest Beer from Germany. If you don’t mind spilling a little of the precious liquid, you can even hold a beer stein race.
1. You appreciate Gemütlichkeit. What’s Gemütlichkeit? That warm, cheerful, cozy feeling you get when you’re enjoying the company of family and friends. And who can’t use a little more of that?
How do you plan to celebrate the German Oktoberfest? What are your best Oktoberfest party ideas? Tell us below.