Oktoberfest Ready

Being married to the son of a German immigrant, I married into the German beer culture. So, each fall at Oktoberfest time, my husband looks forward to lively celebrations with beer drinking tunes. 

Last year we attended a media event at Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont to kick off their Oktoberfest festivities and a couple we sat with were dressed the part - him in lederhosen and her in a dirndl. My husband decided he would have to get some lederhosen of his own. 

So, last month I ordered a pair for him - a nice leather pair that looks pretty authentic and has some nice embroidery. He then thought I should get a dirndl. Ordering one for me wasn't quite as easy. Most of the ones available online are cheap costumes and to order an authentic dress would take weeks to arrive and be quite costly. I managed to find one that was in the middle. It's quite awkward and uncomfortable and when I posted a picture of me in it on Facebook I was scolded by my husband's aunt in Berlin for wearing it incorrectly. 

Apparently there is big meaning in the way you tie the ribbon - place it on one side and it means you're single and available (I unknowingly placed it that way.) If you place it the other direction it means you are married. Put in in the middle and it indicates you're a virgin and putting it in back means you're a widow. I'll have to pay better attention next time.

Anyway, we hit our first Oktoberfest of the season last weekend in St. John, Indiana. The longtime festival includes a German band, commemorative steins and German grub and desserts. I think there may have been two other ladies in the crowd there wearing dirndls and they had a few years on me. The only others that were dressed for Oktoberfest were on stage. I must have looked close enough to authentic - when I went to pay for my food, they were about to give me a discount. They assumed I was with the band.

The food was better than I expected with veal schnitzel - I can't remember the last time I had that as most places serve pork schnitzel - potato pancakes, giant pretzels, German potato salad and more. And of course, they had beer. The did have some nice imported Hacker-Pschorr brews - dunked, original and Oktoberfest. I got a flight and tried them all. I'm always happy to get a flight because I love to sample.

One day the goal is to do the celebrating in Germany, but for now we'll have to make our way around the Chicago area during Oktoberfest season and raise our steins here.