Hier kommt Oktoberfest

Leah Feneley

As autumn leaves descend, Oktoberfest descends on San Antonio and the surrounding areas.

Oktoberfest is a world-wide celebration of German heritage and the arrival of the fall season. Held annually in Munich–the capital of the German state of Bavaria–Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (People’s Fair).

The original Oktoberfest occurred in Munich on Oct. 18, 1810. The festival was held in honor of the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The event is now a 16 to 18 day celebration, which begins in mid to late September and ends the first weekend in October.

Nowadays, the festival includes parades, carnival rides and games, traditional German costume contests, a variety of food vendors and a whole lot of beer.

Oktoberfest attendees pose, drink and dance beneath German state flags. Germany is composed of 16 states. Courtesy of Austoberfest

The beer selection is the highlight of the festival. The presence of beer tents is a tradition at Oktoberfest and each beer tent is sponsored by one of the six main breweries in Munich–Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu and Staatliches Hofbräu-München. Within the tents, traditional Bavarian food and beer specially brewed for the Oktoberfest season are served, along with musical entertainment–usually of tuba and drum Polka variety.

Oktoberfest is a popular and appealing part of Bavarian culture. By the mid-1900s, the festival had turned into an enormous world-famous festival that was replicated worldwide.

 

Lederhosen are common today in Bavaria, but were once the common workwear throughout Central Europe. Courtesy of Austoberfest

Of course Texas, with its long German history and influence, had to participate in the beer-drinking merriments, so several cities have their own region wide Oktoberfest.