Oktoberfest: Festival of Fun
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Oktoberfest: Festival of Fun
Before winter wraps a white blanket on the lands, a final celebration is in session for October all over the world. This is the time to eat, drink, and be merry: Oktoberfest. The tradition began in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The location was named Theresienwiese, meaning Theresa’s fields; locals usually refer to them as just “Wies’n.” Festivities occurred on these fields in front of the city gates and continued for sixteen days. The original event at Oktoberfest was a horse race (Saunders, 2007). Each year afterwards, different additions were made such as adding an agricultural show (The History of Oktoberfest, 2007). Throughout the years, the activities accumulated to carousels, swings, tree-climbing competitions, wheelbarrow and sack races, mush eating contests, barrel rolling races and goose chases. In 1908, Oktoberfest even included a roller coaster. At first, beer kiosks were places all around the festival area. In 1896, the small beer kiosks were replaced by large beer halls, which were sponsored by the local breweries (Vistawide, 2008). Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival celebrated annually in Munich, Germany, and includes traditional activities, beer, food, dance, music, and dress. The time of Oktoberfest is important to the whole city of Munich. The Mayor begins the festivities on the first day at noontime. The fun begins officially after he taps into a wooden barrel of beer and proclaims, “O’zapft is,” meaning, “It’s tapped!” A massive parade takes place on the first Sunday of the festival. The procession includes 7000 performers including groups dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing, historical uniforms, marching bands, riflemen, horses and livestock, carriages and parade floats. On Oktoberfest’s second Sunday, four-hundred musicians comprising the Oktoberfest bands perform concerts (Vistawide, 2008). Many traditional beers are enjoyed at Oktoberfest. A particular type is called Märzen and contains up to 6% alcohol. It is bottom-fermented and lagered for at least 30 days. Other beer is also available – “Agustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbraü Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten are the traditional German brewers of Oktoberfest, since all brew or bottle beer within the city limits of Munich” (Saunders, 2007). Each beer costs about 7.50 euros and traditionally is served by a one-liter mug called a Maß. Servers at Oktoberfest must be able to carry 10 of these mugs at a time (Vistawide, 2008)! Oktoberfest is also a style of beer served at the events. It can be described as an “amber-gold lager, robust at 5.2 to 6 percent alcohol by volume, bottom-fermented and lagered for at least a month, with pronounced malt flavors from Vienna malts, usually accented by the German noble hobs such as Hallertau and Tettnang” (Saunders, 2007). Traditional German foods are eaten in massive proportions at any Oktoberfest. These foods include Hendl, which are whole chickens that are grilled whole then split and served in halves. Duck, goose, roasted meats such as pork are served as well. Some more unusual foods served are potato dumplings, red cabbage, roasted ox tails and grilled pork knuckles. Veal sausages known as Weiβwürste are served, usually with mustard, sauerkraut, and a pretzel or bread roll. A seafood item can also be found called Steckerlfisch, a grilled fish on a stick. Desserts are also favored among the people (Vistawide, 2008). Oktoberfest is not only celebrated in Munich, Germany, but also in different communities all over the world. A proper example would be Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Oktoberfest. This event was even named one of the best German food festivals in the U.S. by Bon Appetit...