As we head into October, many of us are making plans to either throw, or attend, yet another ho-hum Halloween bash. But here on the blog we do things a little bit different. Instead of a post about Halloween party how-to, we thought hmm, how fun would it be to throw an amazing Oktoberfest instead?
How To Throw An Amazing Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is an annual 16-day beer and fun feast held in Bavaria, Germany and, contrary to its name, is generally held starting the 3rd week in September. The precise origins of the festival are debatable: some believe it stems from the celebration honoring newlyweds King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (say that 3 times fast!), who were married on on October 12, 1810. Or maybe it was Andreas Michael Dall'Armi, a Major in the National Guard, who proposed the idea. Of course the horse races, and Oktoberfest itself, may have stemmed from proposals offered by Franz Baumgartner, a coachman and Sergeant in the National Guard. Whenever, whoever, whatever--who cares? We just want to par-tay!
While I have no problem using an email invite for intimate, casual get togethers, it’s always a smart idea to send a paper invitation for larger parties, special occasions or formal events. The invite will set the tone for your party, and can provide your guests with additional deets they might need, such as directions or a dress code. That’s when I turn to Basic Invite.
Since 2006, Basic Invite has been creating perfect invitations for any event. From weddings to showers to party invitations, surprise birthday invitations, unique quinceanera invitations and beyond, Basic Invite has a card for every occasion. They have over 180 color options to choose from, which is pretty sweet when you’re trying to color coordinate your special event. Simply select a design you like, then change the color of each element on the card. Your invite will look exactly how you want it, down to the smallest detail!
White and light blue are the colors of the flag of the state of Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. Use tablecloths in the traditional diamond pattern, and paper plates, cups and plastic utensils in solid blue and white.
For table centerpieces, I go DIY: Clean, empty German beer bottles (I’ll have a few once I get to cooking!) with pretty blue and white carnations and baby’s breath and sheaves of faux wheat, with white paper doilies underneath and small blue and white gems scattered around. If you want, you can always get a little fancier with glass vases from the dollar store (did I just say "fancy" and "dollar store" in the same sentence???).
Obviously, German food is on the menu at an Oktoberfest! For our Oktoberfest, we’re setting up a buffet of simple German fare. Sausage and brats, sauerkraut, warm German potato salad, soft pretzel sticks with a beer and cheese dip and potato dumplings with sage and brown butter (I’m cheating and using store bought pierogies...shhh…). I’ll be using disposable chafing dishes to keep food warm, as well as a smaller Crockpot for the beer and cheese dip. A selection of Ingelhoffer mustards will be on the table as well.
Here are a few of the easy, yummy recipes we'll be using. Click the images to be taken to the recipes.
For dessert, I’m keeping it even simpler with these Loaded German Chocolate Brownies and Vanillekipferl (German Vanilla Crescent Cookies):
What would Oktoberfest be without a decent selection of German beers? Set up a biergarten (aka beer tasting station) using various German beers and small plastic tasting cups. (Our party is BYO (German) B, so I’m hopeful that we’ll be tasting all sorts of different kinds!) We're supplying Spaten Optimator and Radeberger, as well as soda and iced tea for the nondrinkers. Here are a few ideas for creating your own beer tasting station, curated from Pinterest:
Fun & Games
Eventastic put together an absolutely ehrfurchtgebietend list of Top Ten Oktoberfest Games. Get the deets on how to hold a beer stein race, a pretzel pass and a chicken dance off. How about games of chess and checkers (big in Germany), or a yodeling contest?
The finishing touch for anyone's Oktoberfest is traditional German music. Fire up your iTunes, Pandora or Spotify and crank up the Oompah. Be sure you have I Salute You (Ein Prosit) on the playlist, as this is THE song of Oktoberfest and is played like clockwork in the beer tents like every 15 minutes! Other popular songs include (believe it or not) Sweet Caroline/Neil Diamond, Angels/Robbie Williams and pretty much anything from Henry John Deutschendorf--that’s John Denver, to you and me.
I hope this post gives you some great ideas for putting together your very own Oktoberfest this year! If you have any other suggestions for planning an amazing Oktoberfest, let me know in the comments below!