The first Oktoberfest was a celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, which Bavaria observed with a huge horse race and celebration. The royal pair invited the public–an unusual display of generosity and inclusion. You can continue the tradition and invite friends and family over for traditional German foods and a sampling of German-styled beers.
For your own Oktoberfest celebration, you can choose to decorate in the colors of the German flag – black, red and gold, or instead the official colors of state of Bavaria – cobalt blue and white. Get a CD of traditional German music (including polka!) to set the mood for your celebration.
A big part of a traditional Oktoberfest is the food. German sausage (bratwurst), sweet and sour cabbage, sauerkraut, hot potato salad and crusty bread make up a traditional meal. For quicks snacks, serve hot soft pretzels with mustard, and for dessert consider black forest cake or apple strudel.
The biggest part of Oktoberfest is of course, the beer. Traditional Oktoberfest beverages are Märzenbiers. Back in the day, most beers were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content. For your Oktoberfest party, buy bottles or kegs of German beer and serve it in glass steins. Or invite your guests to bring home-brews of their own to share with everyone and have a taste test!
Toast to another great memory with friends and family!