So you’ve decided to cheers the beginning of fall with an Oktoberfest party, eh? Wunderbar! Before we show you how to throw an authentic bash at home, here’s a little background info on the world’s largest fair—just a hint, it goes way beyond just brews and brats.
Oktoberfest began in 1810, celebrating the royal marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Sax-Hildburghausen. Citizens from across Munich gathered to the fields in front of the city gates to attend the events honoring the happy couple, including a great horse race. The event was so successful that they decided to renew it the following year and, thus Oktoberfest was born. Today Oktoberfest has grown to be a global celebration of German culture, attracting over 6 million people from around the world each year. Annually held in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest traditionally takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October.
Although the biggest celebration of its kind is of course in Germany, we know a European trip isn’t always in cards. Not to worry, we gathered everything you need to know to host an Oktoberfest party at home…das boot not included.
Step 1: Transform Your Backyard into a Bustling Biergarten
If you’re looking to party like the Germans do, you’d better start by setting the right vibe. While Oktoberfest celebrates German culture, it is also about merriment and camaraderie, exemplified by the community-style tables assembled each year in Munich’s countless beer halls.
A backyard beer garden is the best venue for hosting your friends and family in true German style. Create a cozy and inviting atmosphere like our friends at Inspiredbythis.com by setting up long benches in lieu of chairs, adding some soft lighting (we like paper lanterns and twinkle lights), and scouring your house for some rustic accessories. Don’t forget to get a pair of outdoor speakers and turn up the Oktoberfest Spotify playlist.
Step 2: Prep a Hearty Spread
Loosen up your lederhosen, because you have some good eats in front of you. Stock your buffet with plenty traditional fare like soft pretzels, brats, and sauerkraut. Anything beer infused can be a fun and twist on a classic dish, besides who doesn’t like a stout infused cake? Here are some of our favorite recipes from Good Housekeeping.
Step 3: The Main Attraction: Beer Me
There’s no doubt that this frosty beverage steals the show of any Oktoberfest bash. Beer tasting is always a real crowd pleaser and steering your guests away from everyday ales is part of the fun. Many of the quintessential Oktoberfest brews from one of Munich’s six breweries— Augustiner, Hofbräu Münchner, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Löwenbräu, and Spaten-Franziskaner—can be found stateside so keep an eye out.
To create a tablescape like Pizzazzerie, drape a long table in burlap and chalkboard table runners. Fill each beer stein with a pencil and beer tasting notes. The best part is the glasses can double as party favors, two birds one stein!
Step 4: Prost! It’s time to celebrate Oktoberfest!
How will your celebrate Oktoberfest this year?