Running for 16 days (this year 17), Oktoberfest attracts more than 6 million people to Munich to celebrate. The festival started in 1810 as a non-alcoholic wedding celebration. But as it got bigger and more popular, the breadth of activities and beer became standard. Because what’s a good time without beer?
Can’t make it to Germany for one of the greatest festivals of all time? No worries! There’s a bunch of ways to enjoy Oktoberfest at home, so you don’t have to feel left out. Better yet, you can use these tips to host an Oktoberfest during any time of the year.
Invite your family, friends, and pets, because it is time to declare “O’ zapft is!” and get this party started. Enjoy your own Oktoberfest without leaving your home.
1. Get the beer
And I’m talking to good stuff from Munich. Toss aside the Coors and Millers for some real German brews to really set that Oktoberfest mood. The following 6 breweries from Munich make the celebratory beers the right way:
Of course, you might not be able to obtain these authentic German brews, depending on where you live and what kind of stock the local liquor has. Rogue Ales, Anheuser-Busch, and Dogfish Head make delicious replacements for the festivities.
Or, get curious and pick up random Oktoberfest brews then host a beer-tasting party. For more fun, be sure to serve these brews in a classic stein or beer boots. If you don’t like beer, sparkling wine is another traditional beverage served at Oktoberfest.
2. Experiment with German recipes
Since good beer demands good food, why not try making some German and Bavarian staples to go along with it? Roasted chicken, German sausage, cheese, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and of course, Bavarian pretzels with spicy mustard can all be included in the menu.
As for dessert, think about making some Lebkuchen- heart-shaped cookies. Don’t forget the tradition ribbons for your “schatz,” or significant other, to wear.
You don’t have to stick to straight-up German fare either. Get creative with all that beer you bought. Make beer-battered onion rings, braise some vegetables or meats, bake up some beer bread, or go bobbing for apples in a beer bath.
3. Bring in fall colors
Nothing says October like shades of orange, brown, and yellow. Gather up some fall-inspired bouquets and wreaths and obtain Bavarian white and blue tablecloths.
You can go a step further by getting flags, napkins and paper lanterns of the same color scheme. Get rustic, too. Wheat springs and dried leaves make great, budget-friendly decorations for your party.
Better yet, take the party outside. Surround yourself in the ambiance of Oktoberfest by lighting up the grill and enjoying time in the crisp Autumnal air.
Bonus points for the host or hostess who puts on some German Polka music and teaches everyone the steps to the timeless dance. Polka has been part of Oktoberfest – and German culture – for ages. Also, dancing is a great way to spend those beer calories you will most likely be banking.
4. Dress Bavarian
Don’t have a dirndl and lederhosen tucked away in the wardrobe? As awesome as it would be to welcome the guests decked out in traditional Bavarian attire, you can be just as festive wearing blue and white. A white apron and blue tea-length dress will work perfectly.
Ladies with longer tresses can braid their hair and weave in flowers or bows. For those with shorter cuts, try a yellow flower headband or hairclip. As for the men? A blue and white checked shirt works wonders.
5. Attend a Festival near you
Some of us don’t have the time or the energy to formulate a plan for a party. Maybe you would rather let loose at a festival instead. Here is a list of places around the world that hold their own version of Oktoberfest:
- Argentina – The National Beer Festival in Villa General Belgrano, Cordoba
- Canada – Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest
- China – Qingdao has held an Oktoberfest since 1991
- Russia – Moscow has Oktoberfest in Red Square
- The United States – Cincinnati, Ohio is the home of the best in the US, but other honorable mentions include Old World Oktoberfest at Huntington Beach, CA; Nashville, Tennessee; Denver, Colorado; Helen, Georgia; New Ulm, Minnesota; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and many more.
6. Beware of the Bierleichen
Otherwise known as “beer corpse,” these zombies have drank too much and might have passed out on your lawn overnight. Remember to party responsibly this Oktoberfest and have fun.
Regardless of where you are in the world, you can enjoy the celebration as if you were in Munich. Simply grab up some of the finest brews around, put on some white and blue, and start dancing the polka. Auf wiedersehen!