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Oktoberfest – Bavaria's national beer festival, so good they start in September!

Posted on 27th June 2013
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Blog Banner for Oktoberfest, the party so good they start it in September by Karnival Costumes
Clown Logo for Karnival Costumes your Fancy Dress SpecialistHere is the strangest thing about one of Germany's best celebrations – and they have some of the Europe's best – the Oktoberfest (translation: October Festival), actually starts in September.  Having thought about this for years, mostly thru a thick head, I can only conclude that this has come about because it's so good no-one can actually wait for October to arrive and therefore everyone starts early!
So where does this world famous, over 6 million visitors annually attend just the Munich celebrations alone? Well it all originates from the wedding celebrations surrounding the marriage of the then Crown Prince, later King Lugwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hilburghausen.  Their marriage took place on October 17, 1810 and in-order to share their happiness with the people of their lands land, it was duly celebrated with horse races along with other popular entertainment of the day. 
Oktoberfest Beer Mats from a collection of Oktoberfest Tablewares at Karnival Costumes
Having started with the wedding celebrations, the idea of an annual festival stuck and the celebrations were soon incorporated with the farming and agricultural show that was also held around the same time of year. It's from these humble origins and one couple's happiness that the Bierfestival culture as we know it today has grown. Within Germany (and those people in the know) this period of the year is traditionally referred to as the Wies'n celebrations and the vast fairgrounds  with rides, side-shows and all-sorts of other amusements both traditional and modern which have come to be associated with the festival are still referred to as 'Theresienwiese' after Princess Therese.
To service the festival and celebrations around Munich during this short period, German transport authorities go into overdrive with special trains and buses to transport these huge crowds to Munich's Oktoberfest or 'Wies'n' celebrations. tradition dictates that the period of celebration start with a procession made by the local breweries and publicans of their colourful decorated carts and drays. At midday precisely, and can you imagine it being anything other than it being punctually on midday, the very first barrel of the specially brewed Wies'n beer is tapped and sampled  by the Mayor of Munich along with an accompaniment of a salvo of cannon fire.
During the beer festival hundreds sit at on long benches at tables all laden with steins (beer tankards) of all sizes whilst Oompha Bands and other entertainment - some own made - makes the day, evening and night pass in a flash and if you drink too much of the strong dark beer which is brewed and stored especially for the occasion, in a haze.  It's been estimated that over 7 million liters of this strong brew are drunk during the celebrations, equating to nearly half a million liters per day spread over the 17 days of the entire festival. In it's original form the beer was especially prepared using the residues that accumulated during the pervious year's brewing.  This gave it it's darker colour and a stronger alcoholic punch.  With demand for the brew now reaching in excess of 19 million liters, breweries consider it as a normal production beer with the lose, perhaps of some of it's heritage.
Karnival Costumes Internal Link Graphic for Oktoberfest Accessories Section
So if you're not lucky enough to attend the Munich celebrations yourself and you like the idea of being part of the global celebration of Oktoberfest, we've put together a few suggestions to help you and your guests get into the mood. It's important to understand that the whole of Munich and Bavaria in general will be a mass of light blue and white, the colours of Oktoberfest. With the availability of tableware and party decorations in these colours, it's easy to theme your party area just right. Add garlands, flags and banners all of which should be in the traditional blue and white diamond pattern plus themed cutouts to both indoor and outdoor areas to transport your guest straight to the Theresienwiese. At Karnival Costumes we think we have one of the best selections of these, in stock all year round.
Bavarian Oktoberfest Lederhosen for men from a huge selection at Karnival Costumes your fancy dress specialistAlthough Wies'n beer may not be readily available it's not absolutely necessary and there are plenty of other beers and lagers that would make perfectly acceptable alternatives. It would be usual to serve a bar-snack with the beers and we would suggest pretzels and shelled peanuts would be ideal, although any salty snack would do just as well.  Although they will be difficult to obtain, large individual pretzels would be perfect.  For your buffet food and despite the global spread of the various fast-food outlets, Oktoberfest remains true to the staples of the traditional wurst (think sausage or hotdog). The most popular of these is the bratwurst and these are traditionally served with either brot (bread) or Kaiser rolls. Bratwurst is always served with lashings of German mustard and are often eaten accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad. Although these are consumed in vast quantities during Oktoberfest these are enjoyed throughout the year and right across Germany forming the basis of their fast-food industry.
Oktoberfest without dressing up would be like a trip to the pub after work. Party costumes will be, of course, typically German and there are some fantastic lederhosen costumes for men and Dirndl dresses or Bier Maid costumes for the ladies. For the costume you have the option of making one and we would suggest you go on-line for the pattern which are becoming more widely available such is the popularity of the style. If you want a ready-made outfit then you have the option of either hiring one or buying one of your own.  With the advent of mass production, it is probably easier to buy than rent and the price differential is probably insignificant. 
At Karnival Costumes we have a huge collection of both men's Lederhosen and lady's Dirndls. Additionally we have a large selection of alpine hats and head wear along with masses of other themed Oktoberfest costume accessories plus a range of party goods which includes a terrific photo backdrop so you can create an instant but lifetime memory. We also hold stocks of party beads which also make great keepsakes and mementos.
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