How to Host An Oktoberfest

September 30, 2013    |    By +
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While traveling to Germany to partake in Oktoberfest, drinking a whole lot of beer and singing songs with people in lederhosen is appealing, so are saving your vacation days and celebrating from home. This year, Oktoberfest starts on Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 6. If you want to host Oktoberfest at your house, this blog will help you understand the history of the festival and let you know what supplies you’ll need. Just add a tent, a picnic table, and a bunch of beer-loving friends to the mix and you have a festhaus even the Germans would love. Prost! (That’s how you say “cheers” in German, for all you beer-fest novices.)

The Brew

Oktoberfest is, of course, all about beer, but not just any beer. Märzen, also known as Oktoberfestbier, is brewed at breweries within the city limits of Munich. They’re in fact the only ones allowed to participate in Oktoberfest proper. If you can’t find the real thing at your local supermarket, look for beer labeled Oktoberfest-style beer. The most important thing is that the beer be served in a one-liter beer mug filled to the brim! 


Pretzels with Obatzda

Beer’s classic counterpart is no doubt a pretzel. In Oktoberfest’s case, it’s a large pretzel with obatzda (recipe here), a spiced cheese-butter spread that is one of the festival’s traditional snacks. I found this soft pretzel maker that is perfect for just this occasion. Other customary delicacies that can easily be recreated in your own backyard include grilled fish on a stick (steckerlfisch), grilled chicken (hendl), and weisswurst (white sausage).


Gingerbread Hearts a.k.a “Lebkuchenherzen”

Gingerbread hearts, traditionally decorated with affectionate messages, are ubiquitous at Oktoberfest. They come in small and large sizes and are strung with ribbon for easy wearing or hanging. Here’s a recipe for gingerbread hearts that sounds delish.

Who needs to get on a plane when you can have Oktoberfest in your very own backyard? Check out all our other ideas for entertaining at GiftRap.



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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

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Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.