Dirndls and Lederhosen

I feel like there’s some things you have to do if you come to Germany.

See castles
Visit Christmas markets
See a concentration camp
Eat bread and cheese
…and schnitzel, and spätzle, and pretzels
Walk through historical villages
and what some may deem the most important:

Visit Munich’s Oktoberfest, aka their major beer festival.

It’s almost a rite of passage in Germany and something that must be done if you’re here in the fall. Thing is, it’s awfully crowded since people from all over the world attend the festival, and the cost of trains and hotels skyrocket because of it. That makes it less than desirable to attend.

But what’s great is there’s another beer festival that’s just as fun, just as popular, but less known, and that’s the Cannstatter Volksfest. It’s more a place where the locals go, and since it’s closer to us, is where we went this year!
Octoberfest, Volksfest
It was my first time, and I was so excited to go! I bought a dirndl, a traditional Bavarian dress, last year in hopes of going, but schedules got in the way, and sadly that dress sat in my closet untouched. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to wear it, but as luck would have it, we got tickets for a reserved table, with tickets for beer and chicken (a necessity) and had a hard date set.

german dirndl
Trying it on, last year.

Though I was excited to get dressed up, I never imagined G would don a lederhosen outfit, and figured he’d go in his normal “going out” clothes, but I was shocked when the day before, he went to pick out an entire Bavarian outfit from head to toe. I’m talking: hat, shirt, pants, socks, and even shoes! He went ALL out, and I was doing cartwheels inside.

german lederhosen
Very similar to what G wore!

So, come Saturday, we both got all dressed up, hopped on the train, and headed to Volksfest. I was nervous at first to walk around in my dirndl since we were literally the only ones around dressed up, but after changing trains, we blended in because EVERYONE was wearing either dirndls or lederhosen. It made me feel a lot more comfortable and excited to get there.

Germany volksfest, octoberfest
One of the many “tents” at Volksfest

I had no idea what to expect, but the second we walked into our assigned tents (there’s different beer sponsored tents with tables and live music), I was hit by the noise level. It was deafening. Everyone was cheering, singing, laughing, and talking while the live band blared their music. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was standing on the benches at their table. You only sat if you were eating.

It was crazy!

We got to our table and got food and a beer. Not your typical pint or half pint of beer, but a liter…each. A liter. Think on that. The stein is enormous and we had tickets for three each!
dirndl, octoberfest

((I’ll give the spoiler now….we didn’t drink three each!))

I can’t even imagine drinking that much beer, but I watched as some had 5,6, and even 7 liters of beer in a matter of 3-4 hours. That’s almost two gallons, if you can believe that! Lots of bloodshot, half-opened eyes and stumbling going on. Despite that though, the crowd was a lot of fun, singing and dancing to the music. The atmosphere was nothing I’d ever been in before, and it didn’t matter you didn’t know anyone around you, within 15 minutes, you were already good friends sharing extra beers with one another.

We arrived late and only got to enjoy our table for 1 1/2 hours, but in that time, I drank one stein successfully.
germany octoberfest

germany octoberfest, beer
No, I wasn’t chugging it. just pretending to, promise. 😉

Something to be proud of… Or not, I’ll never say, 😉 but I walked out of the tent and back into daylight without any stumbling of my own.
I’m not a drinker, let alone of beer, so I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up, so I was glad I felt pretty “with it.” I’ll thank eating the chicken dinner at the beginning and taking things slow for that. And for not being a beer drinker, I will say the beer was pretty good. Its a special kind that only comes out during the festival, so it makes it all the more special.
germany festival

One thing that makes the festival even better is it’s for everyone young and old. They have games, rides, and loads of different food vendors. There’s absolutely no reason to go into a tent, if you don’t want to. This was the first time G and I had ever been to a fair (of sorts) and he won me a teddy bear at one of the games. I was impressed by his dexterity!

We were smart and didn’t go on any crazy rides, but I was really surprised the amount of {drunk} people that did. These weren’t cute little gentle rides. These were full-on carnival make-you-puke kind of rides. I’m just glad I didn’t see anyone actually puke!

It was a long day and we were out cold by 9pm, but it was such a fun and enjoyable day at Volksfest. If you find yourself in Germany, and it happens to be around this time, consider going to Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart. Or if you’re into crazier crowds – Munich’s Oktoberfest. Buy a dirndl or lederhosen, reserve a table, and have a sip of beer for me.

You’ll be glad you did.

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