It’s October, and that means beer. Well, it means Oktoberfest. As part of our focus on fall entertaining, we’re looking at how to host a green Oktoberfest party, and no, we don’t mean with green beer! We’ve already tackled beer tasting, so let’s get on with the party planning for an at-home Oktoberfest. Break out the lederhosen and get ready to shout, “oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa!”
Invite your friends to show up in their favorite Bavarian folkwear; that means lederhosen on the gents and dirndl dresses on the ladies. Then plan an event full of fun, frolic and polka music. Oh, and did we mention beer?
Go for greener brew – look into local breweries and organic beers and opt for seasonal varieties suited to Oktoberfest. At the official festival, only certain types of beers from approved breweries are allowed. You can stick with tradition and serve only Oktoberfest brews, or go for a full beer tasting. If your local alehouse offers kegs, that’s the greenest way to go, just be sure to give your guests reusable beer glasses. Make sure to wait until your guests arrive and yell “O’zapt ist!” when you tap the keg. It’s the traditional way of kicking off Oktoberfest, and it means, literally, “it is tapped!”
Simple fare – food couldn’t be simpler. Brats and sauerkraut are traditional and easy to find more eco-friendly options. Smaller markets or delis should offer locally-produced sausages, or you can even opt for some of the newer vegetarian sausage options. That local deli should have some great ‘kraut as well. If brats just aren’t your thing, roast chicken or grilled fish are also traditional. Make sure you’ve got soft pretzels on hand for munching. Make, or buy, gingerbread for dessert.
Clothing reused – hit up the thrift shops for some German inspired duds. Between Oktoberfest and Halloween, most thrift stores have lots of choices.
Embrace the outdoors – if the weather permits, go traditional with a beer tent. Transform your yard into a biergarten with a simple tent and some comfy benches. Don’t forget to leave some space for polka dancing!
Turn up the tunes – it just isn’t Oktoberfest without some oompah music. If you don’t have a local oompah band on hand, pick up a CD of upbeat polka music to mix into your playlist of danceable tunes. No Oktoberfest is complete without the Chicken Dance, so make sure you’ve got that song cued up and ready to go.
Good friends, good food and good beer with a dose of happy music is pretty much all you need for an Oktoberfest. If you feel like you need some party games as well, start with a beer race – contestants fill their glass to the brim with beer, then walk (or run) the course, the contestant with the most beer in their glass wins. To make it more challenging, set a time limit on the racers.
Have fun and prost!