What to Expect at a Traditional Oktoberfest in Germany

Any lover of beer and German culture should experience a traditional Oktoberfest in Germany. Although Oktoberfest celebrations are held all over the world, these festivities have been modernized, and nothing beats experiencing the beer, brats and fun as they were meant to be.

Beer, Beer and More Beer
What would Oktoberfest be without drinking beer in a beer tent? Since the nineteenth century, beer halls and beer tents have been a part of the Munich Oktoberfest to accommodate large crowds and musicians. The beer tent serves Oktoberfestbier in heavy glass steins with brands such as Hofbrau, Paulaner and Lowenbrau. The Oktoberfest beer tent atmosphere is convivial, but not rowdy. More modern festivals encourage a drunken party atmosphere, but a traditional Oktoberfest beer tent is a place for all ages to gather and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Hearty German Food
German specialties such as grilled fish, white and brown sausages, potato dumplings, pork knuckles, chicken, potato pancakes, cheese noodles and sauerkraut are standard. Keep in mind that not all sausages are alike, and regions of Germany often proudly advertise their regional sausage, so leave plenty of room to sample different kinds. Some modern events have opened the festival to a variety of international foods, such as pizza, hot dogs and even other ethnic foods.

Dirndls and Lederhosen
You'll see plenty of clothing that captures the essence of traditional German peasant fashion. Many German women will wear dirndls, or full skirts topped with blouses and bodices. Men will wear lederhosen, which are Bavarian leather knee breeches. Contrary to popular belief, lederhosen don't have anything to do with stockings or hosiery.

Oktoberfest Entertainment
Music is important at a traditional Oktoberfest. While modern events will play a variety of genres, traditional festivals will stick to German folk music, polkas and waltzes. Even though the Munich Oktoberfest now schedules modern German pop music bands, the music selection should still be heavy on the Bavarian-influenced folk songs.

Many Oktoberfests will incorporate carnival elements such as rides, but a traditional Oktoberfest will also feature a parade of revelers. This can include horses, marchers dressed in traditional clothing and local dignitaries. Also watch out for a ceremony to start the Oktoberfest. The ceremony generally includes a city mayor or other official opening the first beer keg of the celebration.

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Oktoberfest, a 16-day festival held in Munich, Germany every October, features fun-loving Germans drinking hearty local beer, dancing and eating rich traditional Oktoberfest food. Whether the festivities are large or more intimate, the food for Oktoberfest remains the same, and this simple and hearty fare is easy to prepare.

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