Oktoberfest in Gatlinburg: A Special Celebration Commemorating the 202nd Annual German Festival

Oktoberfest at Ober GatlinbugOktoberfest is very much a Bavarian Holiday, however, America being the melting pot that it is has adopted the holiday in its’ very own way!

Oktoberfest Origins

Oktoberfest from the get-go was never a modest event.  In 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese, Munich, Germany held a horse race and provided drink, food and music for the people in a large field now called Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese).  Unfortunately, Bavaria was engulfed in the Napoleonic Wars the next year and was unable to have an immediate anniversary of the festival.  1816 rolled around and so did the sausage carts.  The townspeople vowed to never let anything get in the way of having Oktoberfest again, and so they haven’t!

Oktoberfest Traditions

Festival attendees can expect a multitude of scenes that they will be able to indulge themselves in to their heart’s content!  Depending on whether the first Sunday of October falls on the 1st or 2nd this party can last up to 18 days (or all the way through November 4th in Gatlinburg).  The unique Bavarian style of music has lasted through the centuries – oompah, sing-a-longs and yodels.  Obviously you will get your fill of Bier (beer). Just fill those mugs high, as they say!  The festival has food for days, literally.  The plethora of food choices will keep you full and happy, and you can expect any one of these items to show up on your plate:

“Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (knuckle of pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödeln (potato or bread dumplings), Kaasspotzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).” Source: http://www.galvestonoktoberfest.com/history.html

Make sure your lederhosen is snug, keep a firm grip on that drink and cut a rug.  If you aren’t sitting at the dinner table or playing a drinking game, you had better be dancing because it is the favorite past time of Oktoberfest!  This isn’t your normal jig.  If you’re in character, you’ll probably be doing the schuhplatting or one of the other folk dances.

Oktoberfest’s Gatlinburg Roots

Old Heidelberg Castle operated the restaurant at Ober Gatlinburg in the 1980’s.  Heidelberg kept with its Bavarian roots and introduced Gatlinburg to its first taste of Oktoberfest.  It was a sensation and has become part of the culture here in the Smokies.  There isn’t a horse race, but you can find everything else Oktoberfest has offer!  The Bavarian Fun Makers Band, donning their authentic lederhosens, is right at home providing all the traditional live entertainment you would get in Munich.  Couple that with gourmet food and Oktoberfest Biers, you can count on having an amazing time this year at Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg is held from September 28th through November 4th, 2012. For more details, visit: http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=80.

Have you experienced Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg? What did you think? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

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