October is Oktoberfest time, a time for beer and German sausages.
When is a sausage not just a sausage? When a feinschmecker (gourmet) wants one in the wurst way.
Puns aside, we're all honorary Germans during the Oktoberfest season and symbolic of the celebration is wurst -- the general term for a mind-boggling variety of sausages in Germany, which claims close to 1,500 kinds.
Some have the same name from Bavaria to the North Sea, such as the popular bratwurst, but each one will taste differently depending on the region, the town and local tastes.
This is the big one! Oktoberfest is the world's biggest beer festival. For 18 days around 7 million visitors come to Munich and consume aproximately 6 million litres of beer in 14 giant beer tents. During Oktoberfest in Germany the beer is fortified to 6%.
Many mid-west states have a heavy population of German heritage and folks take their Oktoberfest seriously. They pull out the sauerkraut, accordians, and stiens to fill and get ready for fun, eating and dancing.So When did this tradition to have a big long party begin and why? It all began with a wedding—in October 1810. On the 12th day of October that year, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I of Bavaria) wed Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and held a big party near Munich (München).
This festival or party was so popular it continued every year since 1811 other than during disease outbreaks and wars.
Oktoberfest will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2010!
Anyone for a pickle?
Oktoberfest is sort of like an American state fair but with lotsa beer plus the rides, merry-go-rounds, carnival booths, food, entertainment and, of course, those 14 famous beer halls sponsored by Bavarian brewers such as Paulaner, Löwenbräu or Spaten. In fact, in its early years, Oktoberfest was an agricultural fair. Nowadays, however, the Zentrallandwirtschaftsfest (ZLF) segment only takes place every four years (2004, 2008, 2012).
To encourage family attendance, each of the two Tuesday afternoons of the Oktoberfest are designated Familiennachmittagen (from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m.) with special prices for public transportation and entry. Just as in Munich's everyday beer gardens, beer is no reason to keep the kids away from Oktoberfest. (Remember, this is a country where even McDonald's has beer on its drink menu!) But security measures during the two weeks, including video cameras in some areas, are designed to keep everyone safe.
It's fun to see the tradition of dirdials and lederhosen reappeaing as it used to bak when I lived in nearby Salzburg and we'd come in on the train to Munchen for the fun times.
Oktoberfest - Trachtenzug 2007 in München, Bavaria, Germany
Yes she is carrying all those steins of beer!