Germans immigrated to Texas as early settlers, cementing a strong cultural presence. That’s why October + fest are words that go together like coffee and cream around here. But before you gear up to Prost! and chicken dance your dirndls off at Wurstfest, let’s deepen your Oktoberfest bona fides. Texicureans is giving you festival history straight from a Texan living in Germany, a list of festivals in Texas, and an asparagus soup recipe from Black Forest resident, Barbara Laner.
History of Wies’n
Oktoberfest in Bavaria began on October 12, 1810, as a celebration of the wedding of Bavarian King Ludwig 1 and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on the outskirts of Munich. It was essentially a way to let the poor people celebrate the nuptials.
The following year in 1811, the Bavarian Agricultural Association decided to continue the celebration as a showcase of farming achievements. A few years later a merry-go-round and swings are added, beginning the long tradition of carnival rides.
In 1885, the next significant addition in the “now traditional” event was the introduction of a chicken roastery. Currently over 1 million half-chickens are consumed at the Wies’n (locals name for Oktoberfest). In 1913, a 12,000-seat tent is added – the largest of its kind.
1935 saw the beginning of the Procession of the Oktoberfest innkeepers: All breweries walk through the city to their tents with staff, beer wagons and brass bands led by a “Munchner Kindl” – a girl dressed in a black and yellow monk’s habit. Currently, 6 million people attend Oktoberfest annually!
Perspective from Germany
Brian Hooser (5th generation Texan) and his wife Bridgett have lived in Munich for 22 years and are Oktoberfest regulars.
“Pageantry, tradition, Gemütlich. Originally a wedding celebration in a field, 187 years later the celebration continues as a global event. The fun begins with preparing for Oktoberfest long before with the selection of your Leiderhosen or Dirndl. Once you have traditional clothes on, you meet your friends at the Teresianwiess for rides, Bavarian food and of course beer!
The experience in the tents is driven by the band, driving their 5000 guests to a crescendo of singing, dancing, and great moods. The band uses their extensive set of songs to draw from, starting from ‘Ein Prosit’ to ‘Country Roads’ to ‘New York New York’ ending with ‘Angels’. For sure, I will be joining the 6 million other guest for this year’s Oktoberfest!”
– Brian Hooser
Bridget adds, “You need to start thinking “Tracht” (German word for traditional clothing) during the summer. Even when it is hot and sweaty – you need to make sure you still have that bod to get into the Dirndl (the women’s dress) and the Lederhosen (the man’s leather pants). Unfortunately, neither of these are forgiving. The styles change from year to year, there are more traditional calico prints that some wear, then there are the latest in fashion with the silk aprons and the lace tops. None of these items come cheap, a full Dirndl with blouse will probably cost you around 200Euros (around $200) and can run up to 1000Euros. Lederhosen is the same with the more traditional and good leather costing up to 800Euros or even 1200Euros as our friend from Austin found out last week. However, there are bargains to be found.
We have been living here in Munich since September 1st, 2000, we of course went to the opening day while we were still living in our temporary housing. We donned our jeans and raincoats and headed to one of the tents. It was easy to get in at that time and we sat down with a very nice table of elderly Germans. Since then, we have never missed an opening day!
Oktoberfest is more than just beer, it is a huge festival for the whole family; There are tons of rides and outdoor eating venues, they even have the “Oide Wiese” which is the Old Wies’n and the rides all cost 1Euro and are very nostalgic. We always attend at least one day as a family to ride rides and eat some good food. The traditional food at the Wies’n is the half a chicken. These chickens are bred specifically for the Oktoberfest and there is nothing else like it. No biergarten can match how good the Wies’n Hendl is.
For the whole 2 weeks there are many reservations and friends who invite you, our company (Motorola & the reason we are here) has had a standing reservation since 1985. All employees come along to spend some time together and you get off work at lunchtime to be there for the reservation at 2pm until close at 11pm.
We love being here and there is nothing else like it in the world, it has been quite sad that the last couple years they canceled it due to the pandemic. We are looking forward once again to meeting our friends at the Wies’n, singing the songs, and standing on the benches. It is a see and be seen kind of place where you can tout your wares with a nice reservation at an exclusive tent. Each tent has a different personality holding up to 5000 or even 8000 (Hofbrau tent) people.
Although we are very very happy for our livers and our wallets that it is only 2 weeks out of the year! At least until Starkbier rolls around during lent.”
Wurstfest and Beyond
Our state is the bedrock of German Festivals with roots from across the Atlantic. Below are a few we know of, but we are sure there are more to be found! In addition to official festivals, check with your local favorite breweries and plan to raise your stein or don your lederhosen.
Wurstfest: November 4-13, 2022
Austin Oktoberfest: October 8, 2022
German Texan Heritage Society
The German Free School
11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Oktoberfest Dallas: October 1, 2022
Exchange Club of Lake Highlands Neighborhood
Oktoberfest Fredericksburg: September 30 – October 2, 2022
Marketplatz in downtown
Oktoberfest Galveston Island: October 21-22, 2022
First Lutheran Church of Galveston, 2415 Winnie, Galveston, TX
Oktoberfest Granbury: October 7 – 9, 2022
Grandbury Square Plaza and Pavilion
Oktoberfest San Antonio: October 7-8 and October 14-15, 2022
Beethoven Männerchor – 422 Pereida St.
Oktoberfest Muenster: October 7-9, 2022
Heritage Park Pavilion
301 N. Ash Street
Oktoberfest La Grange: October 1, 2022 (3:00-7:00 pm)
La Grange Main Street and La Grange Rotary Club
Surftoberfest Beer Festival Corpus Christi – October 22, 2022
Water Street Market
Marina Arts District