Grab your lederhosen, because Oktoberfest is here

Fall is in the air. I’ve had to wear a sweater on a couple of occasions, and when I look into the foothills of this place we call home, I see the glorious symphony of color that welcomes in this new season. Football games, picnics and raking leaves are all yearly events that have become the sweet memories of one of my favorite seasons. In recent years I’ve added Oktoberfest to my long list of annual traditions.

The last two years, I was living in Munich, Germany when autumn came around. Around this time tourists start flooding in, and Munich begins the countdown to its most talked-about event of the year, Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest has its origins in the marriage festival in 1810 between the future king of Bavaria, Ludwig I, and the princess Therese. The festival was open to the citizens of Munich and over the past 200 years has turned into a yearly fair, the largest in the world. The whole atmosphere of the city changes during Oktoberfest. Normally a bustling city, it turns into one of the largest tourist attractions in the whole world. Lederhosen, the traditional garb, is seen everywhere, as are dirndls, the traditional dress for women. Munich opens its arms to over six million tourists over the course of only 16 days.

Every year the party goes down at the exact same place. Theresienwiese is a huge park that is changed for a few months each year into what is basically a huge amusement park with tons of rides, traditional German pretzels and brats, lederhosen and, of course, the German beer.

Last weekend I ventured up into Snowbird to check out Oktoberfest Snowbird.

First things first, if you want to get a glimpse of what the real Oktoberfest is like, you won’t find it here. There are none of the large, decorated beer tents that fit thousands of people at once. I didn’t see pretzels or gingerbread, but Belgian waffles. However, you won’t be disappointed. Beautiful fall colors, delicious but expensive barbecues and local and international brews are just a few of the options if you head on up.

Another commonly mentioned love of Oktoberfest would have to be people-watching. A huge variety of people come out to support and enjoy this yearly fall tradition, and whether they’re in lederhosen or on bikes, they probably deserve a second glance.

“It’s a pretty good experience. Fun people, good drinks, a good experience,” said David Kunz, a student in physical therapy.

Oktoberfest Snowbird takes place 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until Oct. 12.

But if you want to experience the real deal, the real madness, start booking plane tickets to Munich. Oktoberfest runs for the two weeks prior to the first Sunday in October.

[email protected]