Ready the taps, fire up the grill and squeeze into your Lederhosen: Oktoberfest is just around the corner. Germany’s most famous celebration is loved worldwide, but it has a slightly deceptive name. The 16 to 18-day festival starts in late September and goes through the first weekend of October. In other words, there’s no need to wait – you can start celebrating Oktoberfest well before October actually begins.
Throwing your own Oktoberfest party is a fun way to have a rowdy and safe celebration. It might not be as big as the celebration in Munich, which draws as many as 6 million people, but you can still celebrate in style. Follow these tips and you’ll be partying like a real Bavarian.
- Food: In the beer halls in Munich, it’s all about wurst (sausage) and sauerkraut. Lucky for you, there are few easier combinations to cook up. You’ll always be safe with bratwurst, but add some extra options, like weisswurst, a potato-based sausage; knackwurst, a garlicky iteration; or, if you’re feeling really brave, blutwurst, or blood sausage. Potato dumplings called knodel or German-style noodles, spaetzle, make hearty sides – just be sure to serve them with gravy.
- Drinks: Hefeweizens, pils and dunkels, oh my! Oktoberfest is a beer lover’s dream, and you can’t go wrong by offering a range of German beers. For those who aren’t beer lovers, you can set out wines from the Mosel and Rhine valleys, or for something a little more potent, try traditional German schnapps, which is typically less sweet than American versions.
- Fun: A good time comes naturally with Oktoberfest celebrations, but some planned activities can make your party even more memorable. Stage a Bavarian knee-slapping dance contest is guaranteed to be a goofy good time, or try yodeling karaoke. Or, have guests sign up for a friendly soccer match and award beer steins to the members of the winning team.