Oktoberfest is a rather quirkily titled period of partying and festive celebration that actually takes places in September. This period of German-based celebration occurs in the last few weeks of September and ends on the first Sunday in October. This year that means its taking place from September 21st
until the 6th
Historically, Oktoberfest has its origins in 1810, when the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig Married his sweetheart Princes Therese. The celebrations then became an annual tradition of festival and celebration held in Munich, Bavaria; though they were later moved to September to take advantage of the warmer weather.
Each year, great swatches of tourists from European and surrounding Countries swarm to Bavaria to join in with the celebrations but for those that can’t make it, Oktoberfest is also celebrated and replicated (albeit on a smaller scale) worldwide.
Oktoberfest is essentially a worldwide beer festival – with great quantities of beer and wine being drunk during the celebratory period. But much more than that, Oktoberfest is known for being a community celebration – where everyone gets dressed up in traditional Bavarian outfits
and shares fun and merriment with friends and family and eats and drinks until they can do so no more.
If that sounds like the sort of thing that you’d enjoy, then we’ve got some quick tips for holding your very own Oktoberfest party and having a smashing time – the German way!
Oktoberfest Fancy Dress
No Oktoberfest party is complete without traditional outfits of Lederhosen and Drindl – there’s something for Fraulein and something for Herr!
Don’t be afraid of stereotyping our German friends, these costumes are a celebration of Bavarian tradition and a great way to add an easy theme to your Oktoberfest party. Oktoberfest fancy dress outfits are unmistakable
and everything from Alpine hats to long socks and suspenders will help really turn any party into an Oktoberfest party.
Being a community celebration, it’s important that you make sure everyone joins in with the dressing up and really get them into the spirit. If the weather’s good – which let’s face it, it might still be if this heat wave continues, then think about having your party outside with a BBQ for the food and invite your neighbours, friends and family for a really jolly knees up Bavarian style.
Oktoberfest Party Decorations and Accessories
The Bavarian flag is emblazoned with blue and white and this theme is generally carried through into any Oktoberfest decorations, tableware, balloons or bunting that might be used. As if the traditional getup wasn’t enough, these themed decorations will really help the party scream Bavarian celebration! Scatter the decorations around and don’t be afraid of overdoing it, this is really an in-your-face style celebration anyway!
Banners and celebratory posters and signs
are usually a welcome addition to any party and as if the traditional outfits and beer mugs weren’t enough of a clue, these usually feature the blue and white flag colours and big bold Germanic writing with the word ‘Oktoberfest’ boldly emblazoned for all to see. Simple low cost additions such as these and some traditionally coloured bunting can really make your Oktoberfest party leap out at your guests and help them to get fully into the mood.
Decorate your table with plenty of flags, coasters and centre pieces or just stock up an inflatable beer glass shaped drinks cooler
and leave it in the middle of the table for everyone to get stuck in!
Bavarian Style Food and Booze
What’s a party without food and drinks? The Oktoberfest festival itself is well-known for the large quantity of food and drink consumed by its patrons in the 16-18 day period. So it’s really important that if you’re thinking of hosting your own party, you get the food and drink right.
First off we’d recommend starting off with the beer – it shouldn’t be hard to find some good traditional German ales at your local supermarket. Failing that you can probably find a collection of German beers to order online including Pilsners, Ales and more. If you need some help there’s a good list of them here
Oktoberfest food is probably even easier to whip up and the majority of the dishes are already popular and common in Britain anyway – fill the table with great helpings of bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels and potato pancakes to help your guests soak up the alcohol. With all the drinking that’s going on, it’s probably a good idea to have plenty of bread-based dishes around to make sure things don’t get out of control. There are some great Oktoberfest food recipes
available online to help you ensure guests are well-fed. And don’t forget the Black Forest Gateaux!
If you really want guests to get into the spirit then you can encourage them to buy and bring their own traditional German ale mugs to save on washing up and help add even more culture to your shindig. Or if you want to keep costs down, low-cost Oktoberfest themed cups
are also another great choice.
Setting the Theme
So, you’ve got the food, the drink, the costumes and even the decorations but how else can you set the theme for Oktoberfest? After all, it’ll have to be pretty special if you’re going to do this 200 year old celebration some justice.
Oom-pah music, Bavarian folk music and the old favourite – ‘The Chicken Dance’ are all tried and trusted tunes for any Oktoberfest party. And although not everyone will know (or even enjoy) the music they’re listening to, it will certainly help bring the traditional German party spirit to your get together.
If you’re lucky enough to have some German nationals as family members or are enthusiastic enough to do some thorough party research you might even be able to include some hearty German drinking songs into the mix to really get the party started.
Getting in the Spirit
If you’re really trying to get into the spirit of Oktoberfest, there are plenty of other things you can do as well. It’s the little things that really make all the difference. Take your time to address all the guests as Herr (for the males) and Fraulein/Frau (for the ladies), greet guests to the party with a hearty ‘Wilkommen’, hurry them along with a ‘schnell schnell’ and toast to their happiness ‘Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit’.
Try to treat Oktoberfest
as a farewell to the summer, because she’s not got long left in her! And whatever you do, enjoy your celebrations and have fun!