Monday, October 14, 2013

Oktoberfest Year Two

It’s that time of year again. September and that means Oktoberfest! We still have a hard time getting our minds around the fact that Oktoberfest is mostly in September. The whole thing was moved forward to maximize the good weather. And even so, we had one warm day there and one very cold day. The kids wore layers under and over their trachten (traditional dress). They grew a bit over the year, plus the layers, so it was all of a tight squeeze but we held off on buying new dirndls and lederhosen for one more year!
Oktoberfest started in 1812 years ago as a celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became Kind Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen’s  wedding. Munich residents were invited to join the celebration held on some open grounds. The place was named “Theresienwiesen” or Therese’s fields. Today locals refer to the Oktoberfest refer to it as the “wies’n” or fields. Last year we were confused by yet another German word. This year, we used it ourselves.
Oktoberfest is definitely all about the beer. The whole thing is kicked off each year with the Munich mayor announcing “O’ zapft is!” or “It’s tapped!” The beer that is. At school, the kids attend an assembly advising them how to stay safe at Oktoberfest, including what to do if the adults you are with are drunk! When we first moved here, Tori came back from drama class saying she had the best teacher ever! She loved that man and he was a great teacher but the first drama assignment; act like you are drunk. It’s just a different culture here.
But  it is also the largest festival in the world with about 6 million visitors each year. And that is the part we like. In the early days, Oktoberfest had horse races and an agricultural show. It has since expanded to a fun fair with roller coasters, bumper cars, ferris wheels and more. Our kids of course gravitate for the really scary rides. Scary in two senses; one, they are high and fast and two, they are temporary, taken up and down just for this event. Anyway, they rode and survived. Mostly. Adam did throw up a few times after one ride but for him it was just a bonus. He’s talked of little else since.


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