How To Throw Your Own Oktoberfest Party

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Brits love their beer, so it’s no wonder that Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival, draws so many people from these shores.

This massive event takes place in Munich in late September and early October, and attracts some 6 million visitors from all over the world. For that reason, flights and hotel rooms can be hard to come by, especially at late notice. But if you’ve missed the boat on this year’s event, all is not lost – you can always hold your own party at home. Here are a few things you’ll need to know first: 

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What exactly is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is a huge, 2-week beer festival that takes place every year in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. It’s been going since 1810, and this year marks the 181st annual party, so why not throw on an Oktoberfest costume to celebrate?

On arrival you’ll find 14 vast beer tents – one of which seats up to 10,000 people. Inside, revellers sit at long, wooden tables drinking beer from 2-pint glasses called steins. But it isn’t just about the booze – there are costumed parades, stalls and fairground rides. You’ll also find live music and plenty of delicious food. 
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How can I create my own version?

Easy! All you need to do is set up a tent or gazebo in the back garden, set out some wooden picnic tables and buy in plenty of German beer.

Invite a big group of friends round and you’ve the beginnings of an authentic Oktoberfest party. Naturally, the devil is in the detail, so you’ll have other considerations, too, such as food, decorations and outfits. Which brings us to… 
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What should I wear?

Traditional Bavarian dress is the order of the day here. For men this means Lederhosen, while women get to wear a Dirndl – the classic Bavarian dress with its tight bodice, apron and full skirt.

And you’ve no excuse for not wearing it – thanks to the internet, traditional Bavarian costume is as easy to come by as German beer.

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What food should I serve?

At the Munich Oktoberfest there are street stands serving roast chicken, smoked fish and weisswurst, a kind of veal sausage. Vegetarians will have to make do with giant-sized pretzels, while pudding comes in the form of gingerbread or strudel. 

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What if my guests don’t like beer?

Although Oktoberfest is primarily about beer, there’s also a tent that serves more than 15 varieties of German wine. Which makes wine an acceptable alternative at your party.

The beer is non-negotiable, however, and must be served in a stein, the traditional 2-pint tankard. Again you can buy these online. Just make sure you have enough for everybody.

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What music do I play?

In Munich you’ll hear traditional Oompah music played in the streets. If you’re not familiar with it, think rousing German songs accompanied by a brass band - the kind of thing that’s easy to sing along to after consuming a lot of beer. Watch this video and you’ll get the idea: 

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How can I make my garden look authentically Bavarian?

At Oktoberfest you’ll typically see wooden picnic benches.
 
A bench will last long beyond the party, and will be a useful addition to your garden year-round. And if you wanted to lose the Oktoberfest connotation, you could always paint it a subtle shade of white or grey.
 
It’s also worth picking up some fun Oktoberfest decorations, like bunting, and you can decorate those sausages with these German flag food picks.
 
That should cover just about everything. Although you might also want to think about hangover cures...
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