This weekend the Burns Fellows had our official almost-end-of-fellowship meeting in Munich (or, if you prefer, München). There’s this little festival you may have heard of in Munich. Happens once a year? Lots of beer and lederhosen? Yeah, Oktoberfest, that’s right. It started on Saturday. Many of my smart friends have pointed out that it’s actually September, so here you go, fact of the day: Oktoberfest always runs for 16 days and ends on the first Sunday in October, so the latest it’s ever going to go is October 7, and it can start as early as mid-September.
Oktoberfest is the kind of thing I should hate. I don’t like beer. I really, really don’t like cigarette smoke. Loud boisterous rooms aren’t really my scene. And it was really hot in there.
But, holy cow, it was fun. Soon after we got to the Augustiner beer tent and ingratiated ourselves with a partly-full table of Swedes and Germans (you have to have a table or you can’t order beer), the band started playing, and we learned that what you actually do at Oktoberfest is dance on benches. That’s it. That’s the whole activity. Wave your one-liter mug of beer and dance on benches and sing along with the band. Note that you do not dance on tables. You’re not supposed to step on the tables. Everybody just stands on the benches. It’s easier than standing on the floor, really. (This may vary in other tents at other times. But in that tent on Saturday evening, it was all about the bench-dancing.)
I would totally go again. Heck, I have a dirndl now, I have to find another occasion to wear it.
Sorry the picture’s shaky. Blame one of my new Swedish friends.