Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest, an event that combines beer (or wine) with music, dancing, rides, games, food, and vendors. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in Munich, but today, the fun is celebrated around the world in countries including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Australia, Argentina, and China.
That's right! You do not have to travel to Munich for Oktoberfest; you can enjoy the fun in your very own backyard. How exactly might you do that? Here are a few ideas for celebrating Oktoberfest at home.
Oktoberfest is a joyous celebration involving the most important people in your life. Whether you hire an authentic German oompah band or simply gather around a picnic table to share food, drinks, and laughter, the heart of Oktoberfest is camaraderie.
There is nothing more powerful than music when it comes to immersing yourself and your guests in the Oktoberfest vibe. Music sets the tone of the event and lets your guests know how subdued or outrageous it is going to be. To create the perfect atmosphere, plug your iPod into a set of outdoor speakers and dial up that Oktoberfest playlist you've been curating all year long. Then again, if you want to go that extra mile, hiring an authentic German oompah band would be wunderbar!
If you're just sipping cocktails, the music can drift innocuously along in the background. But this isn't exactly a garden party; it's Oktoberfest, and you have to get up and dance. No exceptions. It doesn't matter if you have never slapped the soles of your shoes before — that is why there is YouTube. Look up a traditional German folk dance such as the Schuhplattler. Learn it and teach it to your partygoers! If you're shy, you can always hire a dance instructor to take the lead.
Since not everyone owns a pair of lederhosen, passing out inexpensive complimentary Alpine hats to your guests is a great way to quickly get everyone into the proper festive spirit.
Having a professional stylist who can man a braiding station for the girls and women at your event will add a fashionable (and much talked about) air of authenticity.
The obvious solution to food is to hire a caterer who specializes in German cuisine. But where's the adventure in being obvious? Each guest (or family) that comes can be tasked with bringing an authentic German dish or dessert (even if they have to pick it up at an authentic German restaurant). Bratwurst, Spätzle, Schnitzel, Sauerbraten, Leberkäse, Maultaschen, Bienenstich, Vanillekipferl, Spritzkuchen ... the list of delights is endless.
The rides are for the kids. Besides helping them burn off some of that excess energy, having a safe, supervised activity will keep them occupied so you can do some adulting. Don't worry, we're not talking Ferris wheels and carousels. An inflatable party attraction such as a bounce house — rented or purchased — is just fine. And, if you decide to buy one, you can really get your money's worth by bringing it out at picnics, birthdays, holidays, family reunions, or any other special events you plan on hosting throughout the year.
Horseshoes and cornhole are fine for a picnic, but this is Oktoberfest. It's the perfect time to immerse yourself in the culture. Topfschlagen and Schokoladenessen are two traditional German children's games that involve unique ways of finding and then eating chocolate. Sardinen and Katz’ und Maus are imaginative takes on the familiar hide-and-seek and duck, duck, goose games. For the adults, there are drinking games such as Flunkyball and Kastenlauf to enjoy. However, at Oktoberfest, any game that involves beer is appropriate.
Beer is the true spirit of Oktoberfest. Some Märzen, a rich, golden-amber beer with a distinctive full-bodied maltiness, would be an excellent choice for the occasion. However, if you truly want to make an impression, treat your guests to something you made yourself using a handy home brew kit. After crafting something special for the party, you just might find beer-making is a hobby you can be passionate about all year long.