Ocktoberfest 2011 - Munich, Germany - September 17 - October 3: April 2006

Ocktoberfest 2011 - Munich, Germany - September 17 - October 3

Sunday, April 30, 2006



Blatt that tuba, blare that trumpet

Swing that tune, beat it! jump it!

A German band can get your heart bumping,

Your fingers tapping, your two feet stomping.

I know that song! My grandfather sang it!

In the German chorus where he rang it.

Play another one! Don't let them rest!

I'll meet you at the Octoberfest!

At every carnival and festival all over the world, music touches that primeval place in our brains that lifts our spirits and binds us together. The original Octoberfest was just a fancy wedding celebration for the King of Bavaria in 1810. Although the wedding date was set for October 17th, the party starts in mid September and lasts through the beginning of October. A grand opening parade with decorated beer wagons pulled by pampered Clydesdale horses marches through Munich and lasts for hours.

For sheer size, the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany dwarfs every other emulator. Twelve tents house over ten thousand merry makers each. Like giant redwood tree trunks, three massive poles soar to dizzying heights, sheltering three twenty piece Gerrman bands. One tent features a giant ox roasting on a huge turning spit, keeping the chefs busy basting the ox with spices. Choice seats simulating local beer stubes line the sides. Tables are reserved for months in advance by Munich corporations for their employees. I was fortunate one year to know someone who had a spot for me and my wife at the Hackerbrau table. We had a grand time 'schuttling' back and forth to songs my grandfather sang.

If you have heard that Oktoberfest beer is stronger, you have not been lied to. The special beer is timed to perfection for the festival, resulting in a slightly darker color, rich in hops flavor, and topped by a fine-grained head of foam. A one liter mug (mass) will put you into a good mood for hours. As one strolls down the wide avenues, enticing aromas assault the senses. Spit-roasted half chickens, broiled smelts-on-a-stick (steckerl fish), and roasted honey almond treats are all irresistible.

The main concourse is lined with quaint rides and interesting side shows. A house-sized barrel caught my eye that turned out to sell only fancy German chocolate candies in every variation imaginable. Strings of four to eight strollers singing German songs dance down the alley, sometimes apologizing for sweeping visitors along with them, other times not. Police 'Kontrollers' keep a sharp eye out for rowdy behavior, allowing some partying, but ejecting anyone who disturbs the peace. The original Octoberfest epitomizes the word 'Gemutlichkeit' and visitors the world over take away with them that warm, friendly feeling to spread around at home.

About the Author: A retired portrait and wedding photographer, I enjoy writing , how to articles, helpful articles on photography and many other subjects. My hobbies include quartet singing, shop, bicycling and photography. Please visit my web site at http://www.photoartbyken.com/

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The History Of Oktoberfest

The first Oktoberfest was held on Ocotber 12, 1810, in Munich to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Maria Teresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese - Theresa's fields - in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n". Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. The festival was dedicated to the fall harvest and to the Regions most famous product, beer. Tradesman and merchants came throughout Germany to join in the merry-making. They examined the crops, sang songs, danced and sampled the first beer of the season. The celebration was such a success that Ludwig issued a royal Decree making October festival time in Munich. The horse races, which were the oldest and - at one time - the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds.

In the first few decades the choice of amusements was sparse. The first carousel and two swings were set up in 1818. Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries.

Ocktoberfest Today

Oktoberfest 2006 celebrates it's 173nd year. Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, with 6 million visitors from around the world attending the Munich Oktoberfest each year. Each year, these attendees consume more than 5 million liters of beer and over 200,000 pork sausages, as well as large quantities of traditional hearty fare such as sausage, hendl (chicken) and sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as roast ox tails.

Only six Munich breweries are allowed to serve beer at Oktoberfest – Löwenbräu, Spaten, Augustiner, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Each Bierzelte (beer "tents") hold some 3,000–10,000 people. There are currently 14 main tents at the Oktoberfest. A special Oktoberfest beer is brewed for the occasion which is slightly darker and stronger, in both taste and alcohol.

The festivities are accompanied by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen's Procession, and a concert involving all the brass bands represented at the "Wies'n".

And since the Oktoberfest is still held on the Theresienwiese, the locals still refer to the event simply as the "Wies'n". So "welcome to the Wies'n" means nothing other than "Welcome to the Oktoberfest"!

About the Author:

Jane S. Roseen is the Owner and President of Harmony Sweets. Harmony Sweets’ mission focuses on individual consumers purchasing gourmet chocolates from around the world for their friends and relatives and corporate gifting, all with best-in-class customer service. Website: http://www.harmonysweets.com