Raising a toast at Oktoberfest

| Last Updated: October 23, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event, are held in several cities across the world

Oktoberfest, the world renowned Bavarian national festival held annually in Germany, can only be described in superlatives. It is the biggest and liveliest festival which celebrates beer. Though travelling to Munich may not be possible this year, you could still be part of Oktoberfest festlichkeiten (German for festivities) at Pune. Only the venue might be a compromise, the festival is as authentic as it gets with genuine German beer, food and real German music.

Beer is the preferred beverage but wine and other non-alcoholic beverages are also served

The Oktoberfest will be held at the Pune Race Course during the Derby Weekend, starting October 12. The three-days of the festival will witness traditional tapping of the beer keg and performance by German bands besides a host of activities. Horse races, which were part of the original Oktoberfest in Munich, would help recreate the feel and flavour of the festival.

To help the uninitiated, Oktoberfest began as festivities to mark the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. Munichers were invited to attend the festivities and the later on it became a calendar event. The festival has been held continuously except during the Great Wars and during calamities. About six million people visit the fair ground during the 16-days of the festival in Germany.

Over the years, the response to Oktoberfest has grown immensely in India. Pune would be the venue for the fourth time. The cosmopolitan culture and easy pace of life in Pune forms the perfect backdrop for the celebrations. The fact that Pune is home for German companies like Mercedes and Volkswagen, has also played a crucial role in pitching of the festival tents for the fourth time in the city.

Bavarian men dressed in Lederhosen and women in Dirndl add to the festive atmosphere

Like the festival held in Munich, Pune event would be inaugurated with the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest Beer. Revellers can drink as much beer as they can and bite into  German food while they nurse their drinks. Bratwurst, traditional German sausages flown in from Germany, and other German food would be available to lend that authentic Oktoberfest feel. Punjabi, Maharashtrian and North Indian dishes would also be served.

Though known as the beer festival, wine would also be available. A variety of wines mostly from the wine region of Rheinland Pfalz would be served. German wines may not be the first thing that comes to mind, the Silvaner Selection white wine and Dornfelder red wine are held in high regard by connoisseurs.

German band die Vagabunden will play traditional Oktoberfest songs in order to create the typical Munich Oktoberfest atmosphere.

The fizz of beer, men and women dancing to the beat of Ein prosit (traditional Oktoberfest folk song) and the smell of turf, you would not be way off the mark if you scream Ich bin ein Municher.

Oktoberfest is known as the largest Volksfest (people's fair) in the world

First Published: October 10, 2012 at 8:39 PM

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