Every year the deeply committed people of the Mt. Angel community celebrate their own Oktoberfest, along the lines of the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
This year a group of Willamette students went to Mt. Angel and experienced a charming festival that exceeded all expectations. It wasn’t just about sausages, Sauerkraut and pretzels. The festival was surrounded by this very particular atmosphere that makes the Oktoberfest so unique – the atmosphere of people standing up, singing together, dancing, laughing and feeling comfortable.
Some of the students found themselves dancing together, singing Bavarian songs and laughing so hard that they’ll probably never forget this trip.
Read more and see some pictures and videos of our great time there…
It all started at the chicken fountain, where I was waiting for the students in my traditional Bavarian dress, the Dirndl. Funny enough to see the different reaction of students walking by. Fortunately Kathryn had offered herself to drive the van and off we went!
After driving through the green and peaceful Willamette Valley we arrived at Mt. Angel, which had been conquered by visitors. It seemed as if the town had been overrun by devotees of the German culture.
We parked our van at the parking lot and a shuttle bus brought us to the entrance of the festival area. It was huge! Of course not comparable to the area of the original Oktoberfest that is visited by more than six million people every year. But 350.000 visitors at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest aren’t too bad either.
We were walking through the crowds – some men of them wearing felt Peter Pan hats, white or check shirts, leather trousers, white knee socks, and leather alpine boots, some women wearing a Dirndl like me with a white short blouse, different patterns on their dresses and different colors of their aprons.
While picking up some German phrases and music we made fun of some misspellings on signs promoting German food and arts and crafts. Of course we wanted to try some of the food and so we had Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and Apfelküchlein (apple fritters) which kind of actually tasted the same like German Apfelküchlein although the German ones go with more apple and less dough and are shaped differently.
We were watching young men proving their strength by lifting steins (beer mugs) and holding them as long as they can.
At the top of every hour you could see the Glockenspiel which means that little doors beneath a clock on a building open up and wooden figures come out of it and start to dance.
Then we went to a beer tent, a big tent where people are sitting on beer benches, eating, drinking, and listening to Bavarian folk music. The band was pretty impressive as they played original Oktoberfest Schlager music like the song “Fürstenfeld” (you can find the text at the bottom) or the “Fliegerlied”.
And somehow the typical atmosphere of Oktoberfest tents came up and people started to sing, dance and to link arms and teeter from one side to another – Germans call it “schunkeln”.
You should probably just watch the video clips to know what it’s like:
Here is some more information about the history and the origin of Oktoberfest and the reason why it actually takes place in September. So check it out:
The Background of the original Oktoberfest in Munich:
Oktoberfest is a 16- to 18-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair.
The first one was celebrated in 1810 to honor the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. This is also the reason why the area on which the festival takes place is called Theresienwiese (meadow of Therese). In the meantime they changed the date of the fair to September, simply because of better weather and this year is actually the 200th celebration of the Oktoberfest.
Each year an average of 60,000 hectoliter beer and 500,000 chicken are sold and total sales are about € 450 million (~ $ 612 million). Four million people get there by public transportation. During the Oktoberfest the subway goes every two minutes.
Text of the song “Fürstenfeld”:
Bavarian & English
Langsam findt der Tag sei End und die Nacht beginnt
Der hat woll’n sei Glück probieren in der großen fremden Stadt
Wochenlang steh i schon da,
Doch es ist zum Narrischwerd’n,
Da geht den ganzen Tag der Wind,
I will wieder ham, fühl mi da so allan
In der Zeitung da habn’s g’schrieb’n,
Da geh’i gestern ins U4,
I will wieder ham…
Niemals spiel i mehr in Wien,
I brauch kan Gürtel, i brauch kan Ring,
I will wieder ham…
|The day is slowly ending and night is rising
In the Kärnter Street someones sings „Blowin’ in the Wind“
Wearing a green skirt, standing there all by himself, and Steffl looks down on him, an tne poor boy from Steiern
He wanted to find his luck in the big unknown city
He thought with his music he’ll appear on the cover of Rennbahnexpress
The dream is over, burst like a bubble, he has nothing but a few coins in his guitar case
I’m standing here for weeks,
working hard for weeks,
playing until my fingers hurt
and even sind „There comes the sun“
But you have to go insane,
noone wants to hear me sing,
I can’t take it anymore
I ask myself what do I do here
The wind is blowing all day long
nothing but road constructions, that everyone gets lost in,
the Burenhäut’ln are the worst,
in the coffee shop it’s way too hot
I wanna go back home, here I feel so lonely
I don’t need a big world, I wanna go home to Fürstenfeld
The newspaper tells you about a club where you have to go,
I don’t care what they write,
I don’t care about the club
Yesterday I went to the U4,
and a girl started to talk to me,
black lips, green hair,
honestly, it gives you the creeps
I wanna go back home, here I feel so lonely…
Never ever I play inn Vienna again,
I’m too good for Vienna,
I might play in Graz, Sinalbelkirchen and Stinatz
I don’t need a belt or a ring,
I wanna be back behind the Semmering
I just need some money
for the ticket to Fürstenfeld
I wanna go back home,…