Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oktoberfest: third time's a charm

I can’t say we are surprised by Oktoberfest anymore. We know it’s coming in September rather than October. We know it will be crowded. We know which rides the kids like. We know which tent we might be able to get into. We know there will be sausage. We know there will be pretzels. But most importantly, we know to get our tracht ready early!
Everyone, locals and tourists alike, wear tracht to Oktoberfest, though apparently this was not always the case. Basically, tracht are Bavarian folk costumes, including lederhosen and dirndls. Lederhosen, leather breeches with a front flap and held up by suspenders, are embroidered and teamed with checkered shirts, clog like shoes and our favorite, calf warmers! Dirndls, dresses with an apron tied on, can be plain or elaborate, made of all colors with plenty of silk and ribbon. Typically peasants wore tracht but somehow all this evolved into high fashion by the 1880’s and have stayed there, at least in Bavaria.
We bought the kids various outfits when we first moved here and they were happy but they all grew. We forced them into the same tracht for year two, though Adam did rip his lederhosen as he squeezed into it. And their tastes changed a little. Shorter dirndl skirts are more popular with teenagers as are short shorts lederhosen. Well, beating the crowds, we bought new tracht these summer. Tori opted out of the dress and purchased lime green lederhosen shorts. As the day we went was a little cold, she wore her Dad’s green calf warmers too! Royce picked a pretty purple and green dirndl and Adam now has man sized lederhosen. Phil and I were happy not to have outgrown our outfits over the past year of pretzel consumption.
Dressed in all of the above, with a few friends in tow, we hit Oktoberfest just one time this year.With sun Oktoberfest feels like a state fair; food, music, rides, albeit one with plenty of beer. The kids have Oktoberfest safety lessons at school and this year the twins were more frightened than excited. We did have one moment where Phil and I stopped and the kids went in three different directions in search of whatever they wanted to eat. I ran after them into the crowd, couldn’t find them and returned breathless to Phil. Who stood with all the kids and their chocolate dipped fruit and cotton candy.

As we inched our way off the wiesen (fair grounds), it was crowded but festive. The wiesen, a bare dirt field most of the year, takes on a magical fairy tale feel and somehow you are dressed up and part of it. As the girls twirled and whirled on our walk to the train and home, we smiled and thought how much we liked the little kid parts of Oktoberfest …the dress up, the rides, the candy...and how we wished our kids could stay little forever...or at least remain indifferent to the more grown up parts of Oktoberfest for a good bit longer!


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