Beer, sausage and lederhosen: It's Oktoberfest season!

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Cathrine Pettersen/Staff


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SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

Have you ever been in a huge tent consisting of a lot of beer, Oompah music, men dressed in lederhosen and women dressed in dirndls? If you have, then — hopefully — you were at an Oktoberfest. If you weren’t at an Oktoberfest but you recall attending an event like this, then you should probably get your life in order. And if you don’t know what we’re talking about, then read on, and we’ll tell you a little bit more about Oktoberfest. The traditional Oktoberfest is held annually for 16 days beginning in late September in Munich, Germany. It was first held in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Bavaria’s crown prince and princess, for those who are interested in that sort of thing. Today, the tradition has expanded to reach large parts of the world. Cities all around the world are getting “Germanized” for a weekend or two in the period lasting from late September to the middle of October. Here are some reasons to go to an Oktoberfest:

1. Beer

Cathrine Pettersen/Staff

You’ll find beer in any color, strength and flavor. Some festivals have their own beer gardens, with as many as 40 different types of beer from different micro breweries. You’ll be able to drink beer from a 1-liter mug, and you’ll even find hats shaped like beer mugs. It’s basically a beer bonanza. If you’re not the biggest beer fan, though, you’ll also be able to find Underberg — a drink containing 44 percent alcohol as well as herbs that aid in digestion. It comes in miniature bottles wrapped in brown paper. It is actually pretty good for your body, and it doesn’t taste too bad either.

2. Costumes

Cathrine Pettersen/Staff

Getting dressed up is always fun. And this time you don’t need to worry about being creative and original. The dress code is  already set. Most costume shops have these outfits in stock around this season. If you don’t feel like dressing up, that’s also fine. You’ll still be able to people-watch with the other 50 percent not wearing a costume. And if you liked the beer mug hat on the previous photo, some festivals even sell them on location.

3. Oompah music and polka dancing

Cathrine Pettersen/Staff

Sweet, elderly men get all dressed up and play this amazingly fun music, accompanied with a dance that everyone gives their best shot at performing, even though nobody really knows the moves. The good thing about this is that everyone looks foolish together. The music is based on rhythmic sounds of the tuba and other brass instruments. Later in the evening, when everyone has had enough beer to get on the dance floor, the band also tends to play famous sing-along songs such as “Country Roads.” We all love a good sing-along!

4. Food

Cathrine Pettersen/Staff

There’s also plenty of German food to please your stomach, if you’re hungry. If you’re not hungry, you should definitely try some anyway. Sausages, pretzels and schnitzels are common items on the menu. At the Oktoberfest that Clog recently went to, you also had the option to get a plate that consisted of all of this in massive portions. Although it didn’t look great, it tasted heavenly.

5. Atmosphere 

Cathrine Pettersen/Staff

There are rows upon rows of tables and benches where you can sit down, drink beer, eat food, toast and sing. Because the tables are so large, you’ll probably find a spot next to someone you don’t know and not just group up with your friends at your own table. This is a great chance to make new friends. If you don’t meet your future best friend, at least you’ll have a good time cheering and singing with the person next to you for a few hours. If you stay long enough, you might even get to witness people getting eager enough to unbutton their shirts. We’re not sure if it’s the temperature or the atmosphere that’s so hot, but either way, you don’t want to miss out on this!

Tempted? We have found some Oktoberfests that are happening in the Bay Area:

Friday and Saturday and Oct. 3-4 – Schroeder’s in San Francisco

Oct. 4– MacArthur Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland (family-friendly) 

Oct.11 – The Craneway Pavilion in Richmond

And if you’re willing to travel a little farther…

Oct. 10-12 – The Bridge District in West Sacramento

Oct. 18-19 – Campbell Chamber of Commerce

Viel Spaß (have fun)!

Contact Cathrine T. Pettersen at 


SEPTEMBER 26, 2014