Or maybe the better sentiment would be Ich Bin Ein Münchner because, really, who wouldn’t want to be at this time of year? Right now, the 182nd Oktoberfest is underway, bringing free beer to the masses. (Well, you do have to have a reservation in one of the beer tents, but, ‘free’ is the operative word.)
A little history, I hear you ask. Well, the Oktoberfest began as a wedding reception for the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Sacksony-Hildburghausen. (But, a few beers in, you can refer to her as ‘Terry”.) Word has it that after the ceremonial 12 gun salute, the newlyweds looked into each others’ eyes and heard the magical words, ‘O’zapft is!’ or ‘It’s Tapped!’, referring to the first keg, tapped by the Mayor of Munich. And the tradition was born which has continued throughout the years.
The current 16 day festival celebrating beer (newlyweds long forgotten…) has become the world’s largest fair with over 6 million people attending annually and over 7 million liters served. And if you do the math, you’ll understand another fun fact about the Oktoberfest, that is, the staggering (no pun intended) number of people who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Locals affectionately refer to them as Bierleichen, German for ‘beer corpses.’ (Ouch!)
‘But what if I can’t make it to Germany?’ I hear you ask. Good news, excited, thirsty reader: Many U.S. cities have their own Oktoberfest, each with their own unique twist. Lakeport, CA kicks off their beer fest, not with the twist but with an inaugural chicken dance, because who doesn’t like a good chicken dance with a good beer?
Not to be outdone, Ocean Beach in San Diego offers a Sausage Toss Competition. What better way to work off a few brews?
And although they’ve only been at it for three years, Brooklyn, NY deserves honorable mention with their addition of beer pong and flip cup.
Helen, GA, home of the longest running Oktoberfest in the U.S., completes the package with ‘Gemutlichkeit’, a hard to pronounce and hard to explain combination of mood and tenor based on good food, good company and good drinks.
So grab your lederhosen and dirndls, people, and strike up the Oompah bands because there’s still time for you, too, to say ‘Ich Bin Ein Münchner!’