Oktoberfest is a German festival, originating in Munich, that traditionally involves dressing up, eating plates full of the fattiest meats you can find and drinking far too much beer. Naturally, Australians love it – so why not use the Bavarian harvest festival as an excuse for a party?
Major cities such as Sydney and Brisbane already have their fair share of Oktoberfest themed events, but it’s easy enough to order in some party supplies to a smaller town like Newcastle and create your own beer tent! Just follow a few simple steps and you’ll be eating pork knuckle and knocking back steins in no time.
1. Get the time of year
Oktoberfest is not in October. The vast majority of the festival takes place in the last two weeks of September, with the whole thing packed up in Munich by October 4.
Just because most Australians get it wrong and use Oktoberfest to fill in time after the football finishes shouldn’t be an excuse to be wearing your feathered hat until Halloween!
2. Know your beers
Bavaria is known for its lager beers, but that doesn’t mean a slab of VB is close enough. German beers taste very different to Australian ones, and the actual festival in Munich is supplied only by the 6 breweries within the city limits: Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu and Staatliches Hofbräu-München.
Of these, only Löwenbräu is widely available in Australia, although if you are lucky you might be able to get your hands on a Paulaner or Hofbräu. Even then, you will probably only be able to get the original beers, rather than the variety available in Germany – but it’ll do.
3. The food
If Munich and Oktoberfest are known for anything other than beer, they’re known for their food. Schnitzel, pork knuckle and sausages are practically staples in the city, and they are mostly eaten with sauerkraut and potato dumplings. These can all be very time consuming to make, so if you want to cook everything yourself you will have to plan ahead.
4. Outfits and
German barmaid costumes, lederhosen and alpine hats (the green hats with a feather on the side) are all traditional Oktoberfest outfits, and are still worn by Germans to Oktoberfest events. Blond pigtails also add a nice touch, even if at the real Oktoberfest the wigs are mostly worn by drunken English men.
For decoration, the theme should be wooden backgrounds with blue and white chequered pennants (the flag of Bavaria is blue and white chequers) and maybe some lions as well (the symbol of the Bavarian royal family). For once, the stereotypes are true – in Munich they really do go all out for Oktoberfest! Party supplies like these can be found fairly easily in Newcastle and similar towns.
5. Location and timing
Oktoberfest actually occurs a little outside of the main city of Munich, with each of the six breweries setting up their own tent in a field. This one is a little harder to replicate, although if you can get out to a farm you can set up tables end to end with a shade cloth over the top.
The real Oktoberfest is an all-day activity, with the first beers being poured at 10am and the last being poured at 10:30 pm (on the weekend the drinking starts at 9). For your Oktoberfest, it’s probably best to get started around lunchtime, and go until a little after dinner.
So there you go – five things you need to get set up to have your very own Oktoberfest celebration! It’s a fantastic excuse for a party, with not much else happening worth celebrating around the same time of year (unless you happen to support the winning NRL or AFL team).
The party might be time consuming to organise and set up, but nothing that you will need requires a great deal of effort to find. If you’re going to create your own beer tent near Newcastle the party supplies will be easy to find, and none of the food is especially exotic by Australian standards.
AZ Party Supplies has a whole range of Oktoberfest party supplies and costumes ready to be shipped Australia wide for a flat fee of $9.95, so checking out the options here is a great place to start when you plan your party!
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