Remember Beerfest the movie?
Well, aside from the incredible and copious amounts of beer and traditional outfits and roasted pork products, there wasn’t much comparison-It was better! The day was rather gloomy but one could feel the electricity and practically taste the roasting meats in the air.
It was a mixed crowd last weekend, usually consisting of Turkish immigrants, loud-mouthed Aussies, Besotted Americans and of course the strong, ever-present influence of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Bavarians sporting traditional Dirndls and Lederhosen. (traditional mountain garb but modernly tailored for sex appeal, etc.)
Like any fair or festival, there are plenty of rides from Ferris wheels to tilt-O-Whirls but the real charm is inside the dozen or so of beer tents. (actually more like houses, they’re enormous.) Inside, Large wooden tables and benches seat a horde of revelers screaming old world chants, wielding 1 liter glasses called a Maß. (that character is a sharp, ‘S’ and simply pronounced as one.) They slosh these things down their gullets with unmatched prowess.
Hot roasted chicken, salted pretzels, savory sausages and the best beer in the world is served under a canvased blue and white ceiling, subsequently the flag of Bavaria. The point of this engagement is to stuff yourself completely and indulge in the company of others whether it be beating down a surly Italian or wrapping an arm around a stranger who completes a verse in the national chorus. It’s revelry and excitement- Oktoberfest is a celebration! (Originally, it began with a Duke’s marriage.)
An image of Valhalla comes to mind upon entering these tents and it is Awesome. I’d tell you the downside but I’m sure you may already know some. First, the beer is 13 American dollars and the tents are near impossible to get in once Oktoberfest has begun in the early afternoon. (I’ve heard it told that people commonly wake up at 6am to wait in line for seats inside any one of these large stadiums of debauchery. And of course the crowd is out of control-enormous and not for the faint of heart!)
For all its promise and pleasure, pain and frustration Oktoberfest is a first rate novelty with a heart of tradition and grand diversion.