Fall summons a sense of cool crispness, comfort, and an urgency to celebrate harvest’s abundance.
And there’s no celebration that captures the
(friendliness) of the season more than
Oktoberfest. The merrymaking may be German in origin, but its appeal is universal. Many celebra-
tions are held in U.S. communities where the population is rooted in German ancestry, but some of
the biggest festivals can be found in locations as seemingly unlikely as Japan, China, and Brazil.
A History: From Mush to Mash
The granddaddy of all Oktoberfests has filled the streets of
since the wedding of Crown
Prince Ludwig in 1810. In the early years, entertainment consisted of agricultural competitions,
wheelbarrow races, and mush-eating contests. Beer wasn’t even permitted. But the event grew,
adding parades, performances, dancing — and beer — until it matured into a celebration as typi-
cally German as Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle.
Today, Munich’s 16-day Oktoberfest attracts more than 6 million beer drinkers from around the
world. Attendees parade through the streets in costume. Musicians play brass instruments for
crowds. Amusement park rides, live performances, and friendly competitions fill the calendar.
(Incidentally, don’t be fooled by the name. Long ago, the promise of balmier temperatures induced
the powers that be to push the festival into September.)
BY BETSY SHELDON
INTERVAL WORLD Fall 2013 IntervalWorld.com
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