Believe it or not, Munich’s famed Oktoberfest starts on September 19 and runs through October 4. Oktoberfest started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
In later years, the festival was moved to September to take advantage of better weather conditions but the name Oktoberfest remained. It’s the same logic that permits the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the New York Nets to play their home games in New Jersey but use their neighbor’s name. I’m just sayin’.
Personally, I loved Munich when I visited in 1996; everyone looked like my Great-Uncle Joe, right down to the hat with the feather in the brim and the beer stein! It sounds a lot like a typical American fair or carnival but with better beverages and a more laissez-faire attitude.
If you can’t make it to Oktoberfest this year, fear not. Here are the dates for the next few years:
2010: September 18 – October 3
2011: September 17 – October 3
2012: September 22 – October 7
Or you can celebrate the 199th anniversary of Ludwig and Therese with a mini Oktoberfest of your own. Instead of beer, pour some apple juice for the kids and serve them a meal of pretzels and sausages. Play some traditional German polka music and serve dinner outside under a tent just like the Germans do. Finally, there are even some Oktoberfest games kids can play.
Dancing is a must in order to really celebrate Oktoberfest, but feel free to skip “The Chicken Dance.” It was actually written by a Swiss accordion player!