Oktoberfest has a long tradition in Oregon
written by Jeremy Storton | illustration by Allison Bye
It all started with a wedding on October 12, 1810. Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese and all of Munich, Germany, was invited. Concerned with how to entertain so many guests at a royal wedding, planners arranged for horse racing … naturally. The people loved the horse races and the beer so much, they thought, “Hey, let’s do this again next year.” So they did and called it Oktoberfest. This annual party became such a hit that one week simply wouldn’t do. The decision was to either extend it forward into the cooler October weeks or extend it back into warmer September. In the following years Oktoberfest began in September and ended on the first weekend in October. We Americans have a penchant for celebrating holidays from other countries, especially when beer is involved (Mardi Gras, Cinco De Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day), and Oktoberfest is no exception.
Oregon is not one to drop the ball where beer is concerned. For those of German descent, who have ever been to Germany or who just like to drink good beer, you meet the requisite criteria to attend Oktoberfest this September. Festival tents will go up anywhere in the state where there is beer, especially in Portland and Bend. But, for my bier money, I’m heading to Mount Angel. Time to pull out the lederhosen and practice saying, “Prost!”