Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest – A Delawarean’s Favorite

Sing Along

“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit,  ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit”

For almost 22 years I have put on my invisible lederhosen, and made my way to the annual Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest.

When I hear this repetitious drinking song sung by the traditional Bavarian  folk band,  I just know I have officially arrived. It’s catchy, it’s loud, and it’s fun but what the hell are they saying?

Although I sang my own battered version for years (how sad!), I always got the point.  What do these lyrics mean?  Although this is not a direct translation, you will also get the point.

A toast, A toast
to happiness!

A toast, A toast
to happiness!

This is usually followed by

“Eins, zwei, drei g’suffa!”

One, Two, Three Drunk!

Then followed once more by

“Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke. Hoi, hoi, hoi!”

I had a hard time finding out what that last bit meant so I put the chant into a German translator and it came out as Bitch Wave, Bitch Wave. I cracked up!  This can’t be right.
After further research, I found they are really nonsense words that are chanted to encourage more drinking.

Whatever it all means, it is just fun to sing.  So I will be joining my group members from Delaware Craft Beer And Wine Lovers next weekend.  I usually arrive early on Saturday and grab a table. The tent gets packed early.  Plus, if you want food without waiting in a long line, arrive early.  But this year we will be arriving on Friday night where we can cheer on the Muenchner Kindl, Munich Child.  The child is carried during the opening parade through the grounds and onto the stage. This is followed by the annual keg tapping.

In the center of the tent is a stage holding the daily entertainment.  This is one of my favorite parts and is exactly why I set up camp as close to the stage as possible. They have a traditional Bavarian band imported from Germany and Delaware Sangerbund’s own Bavarian dance band.  My favorite dance is  the slap dance.  Every year I say the same thing to my buddies, “Remember the dance scene in National Lampoons European Vacation where Chevy Chase starts a brawl  with the locals?” Well this one is a bit less violent but cool nonetheless.

Then there is the food.  Brats, Weiswursts,  BBQ chicken, frankfurters, potato salad and sauerkraut. The potato salad is so amazing they keep the recipe a guarded secret. And for the sweet tooth, torten and traditonal plum-cake.

One of my favorite moments was the year a German family brought their own snack to the festival.  A daikon radish, tub of margarine, bread and a knife.  We were confused and intrigued, one by the fact that they brought their own food and two that we had no clue what they planned on doing with this interesting mix.  Pretty simple, spread the butter on the bread,  top with a slice of daikon and enjoy. My good buddy had the nerve to ask them what this was all about and apparently it is a traditional German snack.  Cool huh?

And what is Oktoberfest without the beer!  The beer choices really have changed over the  years. When I first attended the festival, the primary choice was Becks Oktoberfest. This came in a plastic cup with the Saengerbund logo. But the tradition is to stack the cups upside-down to create the biggest pyramid in the tent.  They get so big by the end of the night, people have to stand on chairs just to reach the top.

Then came the international beer tent where you can find pretty much any German beer you can think of, bocks, doppelbock, weizenbock, hefeweizen and oktoberfest.  And now you have a larger choice of drafts.  Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Paulaner Wiesn, Yuengling Lager, Yuengling Oktoberfest and Twin Lakes Oktoberfest.  They will even fill your personal boot glass and one liter mugs.  Needless to say I usually tie one on.

German food, live music and beer.  How can I go wrong?

Do you have any Oktoberfest experiences? Have you visited the original in Munich? Please share.

Prost!

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