Blatt that tuba, blare that trumpet
Swing that tune, beat it! jump it!
A German band can get your heart bumping,
Your fingers tapping, your two feet stomping.
I know that song! My grandfather sang it!
In the German chorus where he rang it.
Play another one! Don't let them rest!
I'll meet you at the Octoberfest!
At every carnival and festival all over the world, music touches that primeval place in our brains that lifts our spirits and binds us together. The original Octoberfest was just a fancy wedding celebration for the King of Bavaria in 1810. Although the wedding date was set for October 17th, the party starts in mid September and lasts through the beginning of October. A grand opening parade with decorated beer wagons pulled by pampered Clydesdale horses marches through Munich and lasts for hours.
For sheer size, the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany dwarfs every other emulator. Twelve tents house over ten thousand merry makers each. Like giant redwood tree trunks, three massive poles soar to dizzying heights, sheltering three twenty piece Gerrman bands. One tent features a giant ox roasting on a huge turning spit, keeping the chefs busy basting the ox with spices. Choice seats simulating local beer stubes line the sides. Tables are reserved for months in advance by Munich corporations for their employees. I was fortunate one year to know someone who had a spot for me and my wife at the Hackerbrau table. We had a grand time ‘schuttling’ back and forth to songs my grandfather sang.
If you have heard that Oktoberfest beer is stronger, you have not been lied to. The special beer is timed to perfection for the festival, resulting in a slightly darker color, rich in hops flavor, and topped by a fine-grained head of foam. A one liter mug (mass) will put you into a good mood for hours. As one strolls down the wide avenues, enticing aromas assault the senses. Spit-roasted half chickens, broiled smelts-on-a-stick (steckerl fish), and roasted honey almond treats are all irresistible.
The main concourse is lined with quaint rides and interesting side shows. A house-sized barrel caught my eye that turned out to sell only fancy German chocolate candies in every variation imaginable. Strings of four to eight strollers singing German songs dance down the alley, sometimes apologizing for sweeping visitors along with them, other times not. Police ‘Kontrollers’ keep a sharp eye out for rowdy behavior, allowing some partying, but ejecting anyone who disturbs the peace. The original Octoberfest epitomizes the word ‘Gemutlichkeit’ and visitors the world over take away with them that warm, friendly feeling to spread around at home.
About the Author: A retired portrait and wedding photographer, I enjoy writing , how to articles, helpful articles on photography and many other subjects. My hobbies include quartet singing, shop, bicycling and photography. Please visit my web site at http://www.photoartbyken.com/ [Articles, Digital Art, Poetry, Original sheet music. ]