Strike up the band and don your best lederhosen or dirndl! The Oktoberfest is back, baby!
The Oktoberfest holds a special place in my heart. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of early fall. As a kid, my parents would tell my brothers and I stories of when they lived in Germany during the ‘70s. One of those stories is of them going to the Oktoberfest in Munich. I would look at the pictures in the photo album with their red tint (apparently this was a thing in the ‘70s) and imagine what it would be like to try and move through the crowds depicted in those old pictures.
As I got older, my parents would get nostalgic and feel like having a German dinner. In our household, it was usually something as simple as grilling bratwurst (my dad’s preferred method of cooking them), kaiser rolls, German mustard, and either sauerkraut or potato salad. My parents would talk over dinner about the huge apartment they had in Germany when they were newlyweds, and my dad was stationed there when he was in the U.S. Army.
We would sometimes go the Oktoberfest celebration in Rio Rancho when I was a pre-teen. We’d get the food, the drinks (I’ve always been the one to drink soda), listen to the music, sometimes dance and maybe buy some trinket or shirt to take home. This was a great family outing for us.
What We Did Last Year
Last year I was finally able to take my son to an Oktoberfest. Naturally, with it being only a year after the pandemic, it was advertised as small and humble. It was being hosted by the only German restaurant in the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area, and it was a hit! We stood in line for almost an hour to get our food, while German music was pouring out over a stereo. Strudel and pretzels were sold to eager patrons, and I was thrilled to continue this fun tradition with my son. For weeks after the event, my son would excitedly point to the little restaurant and say, “Mom, look! That’s Oktoberfest over there!” Simply put – he loved it.
Now, I took German through all four years of high school, and German was also my second major in college. I even attended a German summer school while in college, and while there I took a test that awarded me a certificate saying I’m a certified German speaker. So, Germany and the culture have a large impact on me and my life.
In high school, I remembered that Oktoberfest had a special meaning behind it and that it hadn’t always been about drinking beer out of enormous steins. The day is actually based off the wedding of King Ludwig I of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. They were married on October 12, 1810, and the festivities for their nuptials took place on October 17, 1810, where they were honored with a large horse race.
In the years following the nuptials, people were wanting more celebration. They thoroughly enjoyed the party for the wedding, and Oktoberfest transformed over the years. In the late 19th century, Oktoberfest started to offer roasted chicken to hungry visitors, booths and carousels started to appear, and eventually breweries set up beer tents with musicians.
What You’re Likely To See At An Oktoberfest Celebration
Nowadays, you go to a local Oktoberfest celebration and you’re likely to see a large tent set up with a band playing music, beer being sold and enjoyed by thirsty people. Food is also served, such as bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, and strudel. On top of that, seeing happy fans of the festivities wearing lederhosen and dirndls is a treat for the eyes because those people are really into the celebration. Quite possibly the best part about Oktoberfest is that groups of people will sit together at the same table, not know each other, and then start talking and having a great time. It’s a sense of community and friendship when they sit together and enjoy food, music, and drinks.
The Oktoberfest is also usually a two-week long party, which kicks off when the mayor of Munich taps the first keg of beer. This year, it started on September 17th and ended on October 3rd. While it’s now too late to jet off to Munich and enjoy the large party, you can bring the spirit of Oktoberfest to your home.
Try Cooking A German Meal Yourself!
You can cook a German feast. This can consist of bratwurst, sauerkraut, potatoes, bread, Black Forest cake, and beer. Afterall, what would Oktoberfest be without beer? Just make sure that any party you have at home that includes beer also has responsible people who won’t be drinking and driving home that night. Also, you don’t have to make the items I listed above, but it’s a good place to start.
The team with Albuquerque Plumbing Heating & Cooling always loves a good party. Heck, we have potlucks several times a year to celebrate different holidays! Perhaps we could add Oktoberfest to the list of parties we have in the office in the future. Naturally, we won’t offer our team members steins filled with alcohol, but we can still eat good food and enjoy each other’s company. Prost!