Oct 01, 2017 08:30AM
By Jason Huddle
“Beauty lies in the hands of the beer holder.”
It all began with a royal wedding. When Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig – later declared King Ludwig I – got married in October 1810, the celebration included the residents of Munich. They partied in the fields outside the city’s gates, enjoying beer at small stands and closing the festivities with horse races watched by the royal family.
Those horse races became the foundation for Oktoberfest. The following year saw the addition of an agricultural show, and a carousel and two swings were introduced in 1818. By 1896, beer tents and halls replaced the stands and the atmosphere took on that of a fair.
In Munich, Oktoberfest is traditionally held from the third weekend in September to the first Sunday in October and is the largest festival internationally. This year marked its 184th, running from September 16 through October 3. The horse races were discontinued after 1960.
“At the foot of the Bavaria Statue, adjacent to the Huge Oktoberfest grounds, there are also carousels, roller coasters and all the spectacular fun for the enjoyment and excitement of visitors of all ages,” ofest.com says. “The festivities are accompanied by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen’s Procession, and a concert involving all the brass bands represented at the wiesn (festival grounds). Only wars and cholera epidemics have briefly interrupted the yearly beer celebration.”
By 1960, Oktoberfest was known worldwide. The first to be held in the U.S. was in La Crosse, WI, from October 13-15, 1961.
Besides beer and garb, traditional German food plays an important part in Oktoberfest. They include Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages), Brezeln (pretzels), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut (red cabbage), Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).
Traditional Bavarian tracht – clothing for special events – is still worn at Oktoberfest celebrations today, too. Men (and more women) wear lederhosen: leather trousers.
“They are usually shorts or knickerbockers; very rarely (do) you see them in long style. The traditional ones are usually braided or embroidered with Bavarian motifs like the Edelweiss (a flower from the Alps) and have suspenders,” according to inside-munich.com. “To complete the outfit, you need a checkered shirt, preferably in the colors red-white or blue-white, but also a plain off-white shirt in rough cotton texture will do, and woolen knee-high stockings.”
Dirndl – the Bavarian word for girl – dresses and lederhosen are worn by the women. “The traditional style consists of the dress itself (a wide and long skirt with a corsage), a white blouse and a colorful apron. Modern styles are seen in all lengths, from long to mini,” inside-munich.com says. “Nowadays, you can also see blouses in many colors such as black, red or pink. They’re not cotton anymore like the traditional blouses, but finer transparent or shiny textiles, like satin or silk.”
Party-goers hit the Oktoberfest dance floor where a lot of twirling, clapping and slapping the bottom of one’s shoes take place. The German oompah has a brass band feel, and while the Anvil Dance and the song Fliegerlied are favorites, contemporary songs are often given an oompah arrangement to fit the occasion.
Here at Home
The 9th Annual E30 Oktoberfest (Ofest) is being held at Concord Speedway this year, from October 13-15. Located at 7940 U.S. Highway 601 S. in Concord, this annual rain-or-shine event is presented by the E30 Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. It brings together BMW E30 owners and enthusiasts alike for a weekend of racing, eating/drinking, camping and ogling; the BMW E30 was produced from 1982 to 1994.
Its website describes it as “a weekend-long event built around gorgeous scenery, winding roads and adventurous E30 enthusiasts spending a few days together, celebrating their Bavarian machines
over a campfire, amazing food and the best company any motorist could ever find. Oh, and the racetrack.”
Those who will be camping – right next to the track – need to bring a tent, sleeping bags, pillows/blankets, folding chairs, etc. It’s advised that everyone dress for the weather. Alcohol is BYOB and is only allowed at the campsites.
The race track opens at 9:00am on Friday with camp set-up beginning at 5:00pm. Participants are on their own for dinner; a fire pit and party starts at 8:00pm back at Concord Speedway.
A Saturday morning breakfast cruise will take off at about 8:00am, and four 30-minute track sessions run from 10:00am to 12 noon followed by an Oktoberfest luncheon. A 3:00 raffle, a 4:00 trophy ceremony and a 5:00 track burnout contest culminates with a 7:00 dinner and fire.
At 9:00 on Sunday morning, a special event will be held at the track, followed by clean-up at 12 noon.
Registering for a Track and Show ticket ($65) is a full-access weekend pass that includes driving on the track; lunch and dinner on Saturday courtesy of Chef Rob; two raffle tickets; an Ofest beer mug (filled with beer for those 21 and older); camping, stickers, firewood, etc.
Registering for a Show Only ticket ($20) is a Saturday-only pass that includes lunch and dinner courtesy of Chef Rob; two raffle tickets; and an Ofest beer mug (filled with beer for those 21 and older). Ticket holders will also enjoy on-track activities and ride-alongs by drivers participating.
Those who don’t register will not be
allowed within the fenced area of the track; they will be able to access the camping area. Registration is open to
all E30 owners and fans. All are welcome to attend with or without an E30.
For more information, contact Art Magitman at email@example.com. To register, visit e30cca.com/ofest/.
Cabarrus Brewing Company (CBC) is hosting its 2nd Annual CBC Oktoberfest Weekend from September 29 through October 1. Steve Steinbacher is a founding partner and co-owner of the brewery.
“I’m a huge German fanatic,” he says. “I’ve been to both Oktoberfest and Springfest (‘Oktoberfest Light’) in Germany. You’re forced into big tents with thousands of people you don’t know, people from all over the world. In about 10 minutes, you’re all friends.
“It’s what I so desire CBC to be – that type of ‘community.’ We’re working to create an authentic Oktoberfest event. Our goal every year is to amp it up. We’re going to have better decorations, contests, food trucks and live music. We want people to dress in lederhosen and dirndls, and to bring their beer stein back to the event each year.”
CBC had about 2,000 people come to its Oktoberfest in 2016. “Greg Helmandollar did a great job with his food truck (Masterbacon) recipes last year, and we’re working with Donna Carpenter at the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) to promote this as a regular event,” Steinbacher shares. “But we don’t want it to be a beer festival. We’re the only brewery and we’re making the same two specialty beers we did at last year’s CBC Oktoberfest: Cabarrus Brau (pilsner) and CBC Oktoberfest (a dark marzen).”
Charlotte celebrated its 18th annual Oktoberfest on September 9. A change of venue saw it held at SouthPark’s Symphony Park. About 80 breweries and cideries from the southeastern U.S. poured 300-plus varieties of brew; Cabarrus Brewing Company, High Branch Brewing Company, Jasper Ridge Kombucha (fermented tea) and Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company represented Cabarrus County.
Over the past nearly two decades, Carolina BrewMasters – a Charlotte-based homebrewing club – has partnered with various local businesses and property owners to keep the event going. A motivating factor is that Charlotte’s Oktoberfest donates proceeds to local charities. In 2017, the recipients were Charlotte Family Housing (homeless shelter-to-housing program), On Eagle’s Wings Ministries (addresses sex trafficking) and RescuedMe (dog rehabilitation/adoption service).
Weather is the biggest contributing factor to the event selling out before “game day,” and good years have seen more than $80,000 going to local causes; more than $600,000 has been donated since the event’s inception.
Premium admission tickets cost $65 this year and allowed patrons to enter the gates 90 minutes before general admission ticket holders. Perks included special beer selections, a tasting glass and lanyard to hold it. General admission was $45 and included a tasting glass.
All patrons were given access to the official Charlotte Oktoberfest app and a program guide, as well as the opportunity to pick the brains of the craft beer brewers and speak with the charity recipients.
With a continued influx of out-of-staters realizing the quality of life in Cabarrus County and the surrounding region, we’re quickly evolving into our own version of a melting pot and it doesn’t matter if one is of German ancestry. Oktoberfest is a rousing way to usher in fall and bring community together. Prost!
Article by: Kim Cassell
Photos courtesy: Cabarrus Brewing Co. and Charlotte Oktoberfest