in front of Oktoberfest

By: goodislove

Sep 22 2011

Category: Germany, With friends

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Aperture:f/2.8
Focal Length:6.2mm
ISO:250
Shutter:1/8 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

Prone to neither debaucherous, nor lecherous behavior, I’d always been rather dubious of Oktoberfest-ous (sorry for all of the -ous words in this sentence). Most stories I’d heard revolved around sitting in a crowded tent all day listening to guys with shabby haircuts play strange songs that you probably wouldn’t listen to in any state of mind other than blitzed.

But the fabled stories did kind of pique my curiosity. So since I am living in Germany now, I felt it only appropriate to attend in the interest of journalistic integrity (I will not comment on the attraction of dirndl-clad women but to admit that it was a mitigating factor).

The overall experience was a gray lady affair. When we arrived there were few people wandering the thoroughfares. The entire weekend had been rainy and there was a ‘feucht’ sheen to everything. A few people here and there stumbled around and it really just felt like a slow day at the Dodge County Fair.

But then you slip under the skirt of that gray lady and discover that multi-colored, swaying, flushed mass of people under gaudy banners and blah, blah, blah, all of that other stuff you’ve heard about Oktoberfest. This is where they hide them.

It still felt like a caricature though. Big steins of beer, professional waiters and waitresses knowing they can earn nearly a year’s worth of income from two weeks, and strapping tourists strapped into the typical German outfits (and to be fair many Germans strapped into those outfits as well).

It wasn’t until I sat down at one of the tables though where it began to make sense. A liter of beer in front, friends beside, and the steady hum, slow din of people all around brought it home. There was something distinctly community about it in those sections of tents that escaped the camp and the stereotypes. Sure a lot of guys wore those crazy pants that they probably only pull out once a year, but mixed in were the older generation who had pulled those pants and dresses out year after year. There were little kids goofing around on the midway and smiles exchanged between strangers.

I also saw one guy propped up against a nut stand with a blood-spattered shirt and a 10-beer glazed look, and girls with the Halloween equivalent of ‘Sexy German Girl‘ costume running around. And I found this guy who jumped in the photo with me.

But I also found a lot more than I expected.

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