Visiting the Oktoberfest

wiesnAlthough we live more than 200 miles from Munich, we are Bavarians, so this year, we did what all Bavarians (in my husband’s opinion it’s an act of patriotic duty) should do: we visited the Oktoberfest. In order to avoid the sad crush of the weekends, we scheduled our work so we had an afternoon off, jumped on the train, and off we were.

The weather in Munich was just lovely: warm, sunny, with that certain nip in the air that tells you that autumn is just around the corner. The Theresienwiese (the huge venue) was crowded enough to provide an exciting mood, but not so squeezed that it became scary. My husband showed me several rides he’d been going on when he was a child or teenager, and we would have visited the haunted house if the queue hadn’t been that long. So we went to one of the beer tents and had some Weißbier and Brezn instead.

I most thoroughly enjoyed watching the other visitors. Many men wore Lederhosen, and even more women wore a Dirndl. It seems de rigeur to have a Dirndl in one’s wardrobe, even if one only wears it during two weeks a year to the Oktoberfest! Even little girls wear one. The grown-up Dirndls came in three variations, I found: The traditional Dirndl with fairly long skirts, the more modern ones with knee-length skirts and more dramatic coloring, and the rather slutty ones (sorry!) that mostly consisted of net and lace. The Dirndl I liked best, by the way, was a Goth one, all black with red highlights, worn with a black leather coat. Don’t ask me why, it was just stunning.

I’d only been to the Oktoberfest once before and decidedly not enjoyed it, partly because I had almost been gotten hit by a dead drunk Italian. This year, it’s been so enjoyable, however, that I’m planning to go back very soon. I might even consider getting a Dirndl …

- Rike Horstmann

11 thoughts on “Visiting the Oktoberfest

  1. Tee

    My cousin is attending university in Germany and was mentioning on Facebook of attending Octoberfest. She was excited because she said she bought a Dirndl and I had no idea what she was referring to. She explained what it is. So now I know what you’re talking about, Rike.

    About 90 miles from Detroit is a German settlement that has been there quite a long time. It’s called Frankenmuth and is very quaint to visit. It’s really very beautiful around the Christmas season because of the gorgeous decorated trees they feature in many of the buildings. There’s a river that runs through the town and they really have made everything there into a little Germany. I love going there and also eating at their famous restaurants, which, of course, feature German cuisine. They are especially noted for their family-style chicken dinners. They also celebrate Octoberfest, but I’m sure not at all like the one you attended in Germany.

  2. msaggie

    Rike, you should get a dirndl like a patriotic German woman! Even I have one and I am not even German! I got mine when I lived in Vienna for a summer many years ago, and my German friend said unkind things about it (how it was so uncool to wear dirndl, and how she hated dirndl as an adult as she was forced as a child by her mum to wear it for festive occasions like the Oktoberfest – she’s also Bavarian). I am glad you had a better time this year than when you were almost hit by the drunk Italian!

  3. Kathy

    Oh, to be at the Oktoberfest again! I have only been twice, and reading your description brought back all the fun. I would like to see the Umzug someday (the fantastic parade at the start of the festival, with flower bedecked carriages and floats carrying beautifully dressed men & women in dirndls, boiled wool jackets and lederhosen)!
    I read on the Oktoberfest website that the placement of one’s apron tie sends a message about the wearer….for example, if you tie the bow for your apron in the back you are either a waitress or a widow..one side means you’re “available”, in front for girls, etc. Is that really true?

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