Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, I’ve been twice. And yes, I love it. PROST!
How did Oktoberfest become such a wildly celebrated tradition, you might ask? Well, let me tell you. When the Bavarian Crown Price Ludwig married the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese *throws rice*, a celebration was to be had, thus birthed Oktoberfest. You’re welcome for the history lesson.
Now, Oktoberfest is used to drink lots of beer, dance the night away, and be with your friends. Some people make it their annual tradition and see the same people year after year. Some people use it as time to be back with their families, enjoying a holiday that celebrates their German culture. Others, like myself, use it for every reason listed above AND to get a good story out of it.
I go to the Oktoberfest in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This year was my second time going, so I am by no means a regular, but I already have traditions with my friend Amelia that I cannot stray away from (okay, they were her traditions and she included me last year and now I expect to be included all the time, because I’m needy).
The day begins with a parade featuring marching bands, a smoke house, and even two guys with a banner (seriously, those two are the real stars here). People treat this parade like a tail-gate party almost. There are tents, chairs, grills, coolers, etc. I typically just take a six pack and sit on a curb or on the street waiting for candy.
Once the parade is over, people disperse and either go home to nap or go to the fest grounds to begin the fun. I’m normally one who naps because she drank her entire six pack at the parade and just needs a little rest, okay? This year, I did everything I could to not nap, but right when I sat in a comfy recliner, I knew I was done.
The real fun, however, is when you get to the fest grounds. This is where everyone congregates, there’s unlimited amounts of Oktoberfest Beers, brats, pretzels, and more. Last year I had forgotten to eat food and I knew I wouldn’t make this mistake again (and I was right, I ended up buying myself and like 4 people slices of pizza and french fries…I’m a giver).
My group and I could not stay as one throughout the night. There were seven of us total, and I can remember spending time with two consistently and others making small appearances throughout the night.
One downfall of Oktoberfest, however, is constantly putting a depressant in your body for 16 hours straight. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, someone would offer to go with me to get one, or just go get me one (which I always appreciate, but ya girl needed a break). Needless to say, because of this, things got emotional. Myself and a few of my friends had break downs. We cried it out. We talked through things beyond the moment. We talked about things completely in the moment that were so stupid, who would even care about it sober. I spent the end of the night having an anxiety attack and getting in some quality time with my buddies, Taylor, Haley, and Amelia (thank you for being there for me).
Yet, when I look back on the weekend, I don’t think about the break downs or the anxiety attack. I think about how my best friend and I talked about her wedding next year, how my friends kept getting me free things from the parade because I simply wanted them, how I got to see a friends after a year of not seeing her, how Amelia said I had been dumped and needed popcorn and got us a free bag, and how I ate a mediocre slice of pizza with some of my favorite people.
I love Oktoberfest. I love the tradition of it all. I love that I get to go to Wisconsin for it. I love that it makes me emotional and close to my friends. Because the day after, I open the group texts to everyone saying, “we all do stupid things, you already know I love you no matter what.”
Drink Wisconsinbly, my friends.
P.S. if someone wanted to get me tickets to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, I’d be so down.