They say, "Ask and you shall receive." And that's exactly what happened for hundreds of visitors who used to call the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce & Convention & Visitors Bureau each year, asking the same question... "When is the Oktoberfest?"
Each year, staff would give the same response - that Frankenmuth's big festival was in June and that it was called the Bavarian Festival. Until they finally received so many calls from visitors interested in Oktoberfest that they decided to give Frankenmuth its very own.
Before the first annual Frankenmuth Oktoberfest came to be (25 years ago, to be exact) the Frankenmuth community and its many volunteers knew they needed to create not just another Oktoberfest, but a truly authentic one. They researched why, where, and how "The Original" (that's how Germans refer to the Munich Oktoberfest) occurred, and learned the ins and outs to recreate Frankenmuth's own as true to "The Original" as possible.
The result of the community's dedication was an Oktoberfest so authentic, so real, and so true to its traditions that, in 1996, Lord Mayor Christian Ude, with the support of the Bavarian Parliament, bestowed Frankenmuth with the honor of being the only officially-sanctioned Oktoberfest outside of Munich. Why? Because although other cities across the globe may host larger Oktoberfest celebrations in terms of size and attendance, Frankenmuth's Oktoberfest was the only one in the world outside of Munich deemed to truly honor "The Original" authentically, through its traditions, music, food, and, of course - authentic Munich beer.
And getting that authentic Munich beer into the U.S. for the first Frankenmuth Oktoberfest was no small feat. Annette Rummel, a driving force behind the first Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, was at the helm of the Frankenmuth Chamber & CVB when this staple of Bavarian culture was brought to Frankenmuth for the first time.
"My father served in the U.S. Army, and one of his favorite places to visit while in Germany on leave was Munich (especially the Haufbräuhaus)," Rummel remembers. "We grew up singing the song "München Steht Ein Hofbräuhaus" and listening to his stories. So, when organizing the first Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, my goal was to serve none other than an authentically brewed Munich beer."
At the time, other Munich beers were already being imported into the US, but not Haufbräu (HB). Because of Rummel's and the Frankenmuth community's efforts to bring Haufbräu (HB) beer to the U.S. for the first time in history, Haufbräuhaus beer is still proudly served today at the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest and throughout the United States.
Just like "The Original", the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest kicks off the festivities with elected officials tapping the first keg of authentic Munich-brewed and locally brewed beer. Aside from enjoying authentic Munich beer, other traditional Oktoberfest activities include special parades, carnival rides, food, and folk music.
If you're attending Oktoberfest and aren't sure where to start, be sure to soak up these must-do activities for a truly authentic experience:
- Watch the Frankenmuth Schuhplattlers. This traditional dance group has even performed at the Haufbräuhaus in Munich!
- Learn Ein Prosit - an authentic German toast. You'll be hearing a lot of it and will definitely want to join in!
- Try a delicious, warm, hand-rolled pretzel and wash it all down with a Maß (one liter) of traditional Munich Haufbräuhaus beer
Still not sure exactly what Oktoberfest is all about? Check out these fun facts:
- It's an important tradition of Bavarian culture, marked by a 16-day festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany from late September to the first weekend in October
- It was first held in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. Anniversary celebrations were held thereafter and eventually became much larger and more elaborate
- The festival (in Munich) draws over 6 million people from around the world each year
- To the locals, it is often simply called "Weisn"
- Cities from around the world host their own Oktoberfest celebrations, with Frankenmuth's Oktoberfest being the only officially sanctioned celebration in the world outside of Munich
WHAT'S ON TAP?
- Oktoberfest beer is of a variety called Märzen. Darker and stronger than traditional beer, Märzen contains up to 6% alcohol, is bottom-fermented, and is lagered for at least 30 days
- Just 6 Munich breweries - Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten - are permitted to serve beer at The Original festival in Munich
- At "The Original" Oktoberfest in Munich, beer tents and beer gardens provide enough seating for 98,000 visitors at a time! Beer is served by the Maß, a one-liter mug, and beer maids and waiters must be able to carry 10 of these beer-filled mugs at a time!
WHAT'S ON THE MENU?
At The Original Oktoberfest in Munich, visitors consume large quantities of traditional, hearty fare including:
- Hendl - Whole chickens grilled on a spit and typically sold in halves. Variations are the spit-roasted duck or goose
- Roasted meats, especially pork, and potato dumplings are served up with the traditional red cabbage and apple dish (Blaukohl). Local specialties such as roasted ox tails, grilled pork knuckles, or Bavarian Weißwürste (steamed white veal sausages served with sweet mustard), sauerkraut, and a pretzel or bread roll are found on just about every menu
- Typical dessert dishes include Dampfnudel, a steamed honey-dumpling served with vanilla sauce, apple strudel, and Kaiserschmarrn, a sugared pancake with raisins
So grab your appetite, your dancing shoes, and a few of your closest friends, and get ready to shout "Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit" - a toast to contentment, congeniality, and relaxation. It's all here to enjoy at the 25th Annual Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, September 18-21.
2014 Frankenmuth Oktoberfest Dates:
- Thursday, September 18th - Sunday, September 21st
- Thursday: 3:00PM - 10:00PM
- Friday & Saturday: 12:00PM - 12:00AM
- Sunday: 12:00PM - 6:00PM
- Thursday-Saturday: $10.00 Per Person
- Sunday: FREE!
- Kids 12 & Under FREE Any Day!