To me, Oktoberfest symbolizes the start of fall and the foodie season, the time between fall and spring where all of our holidays seem centered around great meals. In my house, Oktoberfest is the first big potluck party and topped off with plenty of beer. We host an outdoor party every year. And while some people might tell you Oktoberfest is all about the beer, I think the decorations and the sausages are just as important. Here are some of my favorite planning tips.
I center my Oktoberfest party around a long picnic-style table, where everyone can sit together to eat, drink, talk, laugh, and drink some more. For a center piece, I use a collection of beer steins topped off with flowers that resemble the German flag - orange and red. Around the table I place German tourism posters I picked up at thrift stores and paper lanterns in orange, red, and black.
In my house, Oktoberfest is an excuse to try out new German recipes on our friends and family. We start with plenty of sausage. Every year, I buy about 40 pounds of different sausages from my local butcher. Those are grilled and served alongside sauerkraut, homemade soft pretzels, beet salad, and German hot potato salad.
Of course, every Oktoberfest shindig needs beer. Every year I buy several dozen craft-style German beers including wheat ales and stronger stouts. I toss those in chests of ice so guests can chose their favorite. I also buy two kegs of domestic beer for guests who prefer the American classics and round it off with homemade punch, carrot and beet juice (to represent common flavors in Germany,) and sodas for children and guests who don't drink. Finally, to add to the décor, I bought several dozen glass beer steins.
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