Do-It-Yourself: Oktoberfest edition

Do-It-Yourself: Oktoberfest edition

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

To be perfectly honest, another canceled Oktoberfest was a bummer. Although I currently reside in the U.K., I had plans to meet one of my closest friends in Munich for a few days of unrivaled German shenanigans. Alas, this year there are still no beer tents, no shiny oompah bands, no dirndls or lederhosen, no delectable scents of roasted chicken or huge pretzels wafting through the air. However, before we hang up the festival season completely and mourn the loss of Oktoberfest and Cannstatter Volksfest (Oktoberfest’s rival in Stuttgart), why not grab your social bubble and do it yourself?

Before you get started, be sure to read up on the local COVID-19 guidance for social gatherings. Guidance can change rapidly, so please ensure you celebrate safely and within the host nation and DoD guidelines.


There is a seemingly infinite number of Oktoberfest playlists to choose from. Hop on to Apple Music, Google Play, Pandora or Spotify and do a quick search for Oktoberfest. You’ll find everything from the traditional Bavarian brass oompah bands to more eclectic electronica sounds. If all else fails, throw on your favorite dance tunes with a few polka songs (yes, we’ll let your Weird Al additions slide here) mixed in. Not quite traditional, but it’ll create something memorable for sure.


With a little help from or local shops, you can transform your yard (or well-ventilated indoor space) into an Oktoberfest dream. Dress up your picnic table with blue and white checkered tablecloths and drape similar patterned bunting around the perimeter. If indoors, hang crepe paper streamers or fabric along the ceiling. If you need quick and easy ideas, check out Pinterest for great inspiration.


During festival season, dust off your dirndl, button up the lederhosen and pull up those trouser socks! Sure you can wear plain jeans and a t-shirt but have some fun with it. The best way to get the fest feeling is to dress the part. You might feel a little silly at first, since it may just be you and your close circle; however, dressing up make it more fun and definitely more authentic. Top off your inner-fashionista with a feather-adorned fedora.

Good eats

One of the best parts of Oktoberfest is the food. Essentially glorified German fair food, it’s hard to choose just one dish. If you want to keep it simple, head to your local store (Globus, Aldi, Real, Rewe, Kaufland, etc.) and pick up a bag of fresh “Brötchen,” some premade curry ketchup and bratwurst. To make currywurst, slice up a few links of bratwurst and smother in the curry ketchup. No curry ketchup? Make your own by sprinkling a generous amount of curry powder atop ketchup. Or place a freshly grilled brat in “Brötchen” topped with a bit of German mustard. You can also cheat and phone in a takeout order from your favorite Deutsch restaurant. Roasted chicken, crispy schnitzel, cheesy “Käsespäzle,” savory “Knodel” and “Schweinhaxe” are excellent options to try.

The beer

The main drink of choice for Oktoberfest is beer. Not just your average run-of-the-mill Bud Light, but usually a dark, rich marzen brewed specifically for the fest. There are six official breweries for the Munich Oktoberfest: Löwenbräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Augustiner (my personal favorite), Paulaner and Spaten. Luckily, they also bottle the specialty brews to enjoy at home. Most can be found at your local shoppette or off-base grocer. However, if you prefer less or no alcohol, there are plenty of tasty non-alcoholic or “Alkohol-frei” options to choose from.

Your house is decorated, you’re dressed to the nines, food is ready, beer is cold, and the music is pumping through the speakers. Grab your friends and family (within the social guidelines, of course) and raise a glass. Prost!

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