PROST! Ready to Take Your Military Family to Oktoberfest?

Grüss gott (hello) and welcome! Have you received orders to Germany? Planning a trip or visiting soon? You don't want to miss what's happening right now! Germany offers a lot of rituals, religions, traditions, festivals, with some centered around holidays like Christmas, Advent, Lent, and May Tree. But right now, a favorite known throughout the world is happening in Germany: Oktoberfest. Grab the passport and let's go!

From September 22, 2018-October 7, 2018, people across the globe will come together to celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Throughout organizations, bars, and restaurants, people will host their own fest in honor of this German tradition. This annual event welcomes people months in advance to build tents and prepare for the fest.

What are the origins of Oktoberfest? On October 12, 1810, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. With the marriage, a celebration began for several days. How was it celebrated? At that time, the marriage was celebrated with a feast, drinking alcohol, and more! This tradition continued on, and over time this fest moved into September for celebrating. Why? September has better weather, longer and warmer nights for guest to enjoy themselves.

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How is Oktoberfest celebrated? In a few words: Oktoberfest is a big party. Beer (or 'bier' in German) is served in beer tents throughout the fairgrounds. Shopping, eating, drinking, and rides are filled from corner to corner for this lavish event. There is something to do for everyone. Oktoberfest 2018 will include 14 beer tents and several smaller tents throughout the fairgrounds.

What is the dress code for this event? Oktoberfest is a time for Bavarians to break out traditional outfits which are called dirndls (for women) and lederhosen (for men). As younger people begin to take part in Oktoberfest more often now, high cut lederhosen have also come into fashion for the younger generation. Locals and tourists can visit many different stores in person or online for the traditional wear. Prices from affordable to 'yikes!' depending on how authentic. Ladies need to pay close attention to how they tie their aprons. A bow on the right means a lady is taken, left side means the lady is single and ready to mingle, a bow on the back means widow or a waitress, and a bow in the middle means uncertain about their relations or virgin.

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Healthy food is out, so come hungry and ready for traditional German food and sweet treats. Beer tents will sell beer, soda, and water. Germans drink carbonated water, so ask without bubbles for the water. Pretzels, sausages, spiced cheese-butter spread, potato pancakes, Sauerkraut, and more! Ice cream, roasted nuts, traditional heart cookies, and more are available throughout the fest. Need to work off those calories? Walk the fairgrounds, ride some rides, shop the vendors, and visit the Bavarian statue with lion.

Germany is known for many wonderful things, but Oktoberfest is a favorite for many. Will you join the fun this year? Prost!

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest in Germany? What was your favorite part, and what would you tell somone visiting for the first time? 

(P.S. Check out Family Days, where some food and rides are cheaper!)

''Posted by Jessica Richardson, NMFA Volunteer and military spouse, Ansbach, Germany

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