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How to Host an Oktoberfest Party

Created January 10, 2017
With its rowdy music, impromptu dancing, beer and brats, Oktoberfest is easy to love. Turn your home or backyard into a beer hall or beer garden and invite some friends over to celebrate the season, German-style.

The History

Oktoberfest is a centuries-old German tradition, originally lasting 16 days to honor a royal marriage in Munich in 1810. Although times have changed, the celebration continues with traditional German food, music and boisterous activity. So don those lederhosen, lift a stein and let the party begin!

Set the Mood

  • Indoors: Put up some German flags or posters (travel agencies can be great for this) for instant ambiance. Or use the German flag colors of black, red and yellow as your decorating guide.
  • Outdoors: Set out long tables and beer garden–style benches and string twinkle lights overhead.
  • Playlist: Stream German music on Pandora or search "Bavarian Drinking Songs" for an authentic, lively vibe.

Beer Here

Many microbreweries and regional brewers offer Oktoberfest beers each fall. Order a keg of your favorite and set out some German steins for guests to use—or simply use the steins as centerpieces with flowers in them, especially if you're going for the beer garden look. In addition to beer, seek out specialty mixed drinks containing cider (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), apple schnapps, liqueur or brandy.

Food Ideas

  • Keep appetizers simple—a bowl of pretzels is both authentic and easy. Or set out a cheese plate with three to five cheeses from the region.
  • For dinner, create a self-serve brat bar with a few toppings such as relish and sauerkraut along with a variety of mustards such as German, hot, sweet, yellow, etc.