One last Oktoberfest post before I get ready for the tapping of the golden keg this afternoon. Check out this story on the Des Moines Oktoberfest celebration. It covers an example of when a major change did NOT work in making the event more successful but was definitely worth a try. Now the Des Moines Oktoberfest is making what I think will be a triumphant return to it’s original location.

Added bonus: great tips on what a Burgermeister does. Another great addition to your Oktoberfest party!

Considering some of the stats from Germany’s Oktoberfest, it may not be something you can replicate exactly in your own backyard. But here are a few ideas on how you could do it on a *slightly* smaller scale.

  • If you don’t want to rent and set-up a tent; take a cue from some of the building/tent roofs at Oktoberfest. This look can be replicated fairly easily with a little rope or wire and streamers a la the blogosphere darling Max & Margaux wedding.
  • Finding some authentic Oktoberfest tables like these might be a little tough unless you have someone who wants to build them (or drop some cash on one here). But to get that bier hall feeling, a wooden picnic table will do the trick. For centerpieces, fill a few beer steins with flowers or wheat/hops and line them down the center of the table. 

Empty Oktoberfest

And although I couldn’t find a photo from Oktoberfest that actually shows this runner on a table; it does add to the Bavarian theme and can be ordered from quite a few websites including

  • Even if you don’t have an Oom Pah Band, you’ll still need Polka music. My personal favorites are The Beer Barrel Polka and In Heaven There is No Beer. 

  • To add just a little more fun, give everyone a Tyrolean hat and set up a photo booth. Beer steins, aprons, talk bubbles with German phrases (Wilkommen! Prost! Danke Schon) and lederhosen could make for some great props. You could also go the route of the Hessen Haus in Des Moines which hosts the local Oktoberfest that I’ll be joining:
Owly Images

  • It should go without saying that you’ll also want to have some German beer on hand. Add custom labels with names like Smithsteiner. And to drink it, you’ll need
Or at the very least, some large steins for all.

For 200 years; ze Germans have been doing it right with an annual festival in Munich known around the world. Of course, we’re talking Oktoberfest. This year, the beerfest will be held from September 18th through October 3rd. But Oktoberfest is more than beer right? It’s all about sauerkraut, pretzels, wursts, polka and well, mostly beer.
Approximately six million people attend the event over those 16 days. That calls for some massive production skills just for set-up to house all those people. Think about all of the food and beer you would need! Here are some 2007 stats from Wikipedia:

Oktoberfest figures (2007)

  • Area: 0.42 km2 (103.78 acres)
  • Seats in the festival halls: approx. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (1,833,512.55 US gallons)
  • Wine: 79,624 liters (21,034 US gallons)
  • Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres (8,465.9 US gallons)
  • Coffee and tea: 222,725 litres (58,837.7 US gallons)
  • Water and lemonade: 909,765½ litres (240,334.6 US gallons)
  • Chicken: 521,872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
  • Fish: 38,650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich’s daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 560 years)
  • Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m³
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich’s daily need)
  • Waste: 678 t (2004)
  • Toilets: about 980 seats, more than 878 meters of urinals and 17 for disabled persons
  • Phone booths: 83, also for international credit cards
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even crutches.
  • Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest. 

To give you an idea of where all of those people and pork knuckles go; here are some shots of the set-up of the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent. It is the largest of 14 tents at the festival, holding 9,992 people (FYI – that’s five times the size of the town I grew up in).

Materials are delivered from storage and construction begins on July 15th:

On September 5th about 1300 pounds of hops are delivered to be used as the main decor of the tents interior (see last two photos). After training the 280 people who will staff the tent during Oktoberfest, the Hofbräu-Festzelt party is ready to go!

Check back tomorrow and we’ll share some ideas on how to throw your own Oktoberfest party – hopefully without generating 1,000 pounds of garbage.