The fall is such a beautiful time of year in our country… the morning weather begins to get colder as you wait at the bus stops, apple cider everything begins to appear at the grocery store, and beer, football and of course brats become a weekly event. What would we do without bratwurst?

The first documented evidence of bratwurst was 1313 in Germany. With the kickoff of Oktoberfest in Germany this week it’s important to celebrate and recognize the impact of German food within our country. Oktoberfest celebrations are held in many American cities across the US and across the world.

Oktoberfest is the world's largest Volksfest (beer festival and traveling funfair.) It is held annually in Munich-Bavaria, Germany, and it is a 16-day folk festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810.

Visitors also enjoy numerous attractions, such as amusement rides and games. There is also a wide variety of traditional foods including Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezeln (pretzels), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spicy cheese-butter spread) and Weißwurst (a white sausage.)

In the opening parade, Oktoberfest restaurateurs and breweries parade in for the opening of the Oktoberfest, which began in 1887. The parade has taken place in its current form since 1935, when all the breweries first took part. Since then the parade has been led by local celebrities and politicians. After the parade come the decorated horse carriages and floats of the breweries and the carriages of the other restaurateurs and showmen. The bands from the beer tents accompany the parade.

After the parade of the restaurateurs on carriages from downtown to the festival grounds, at exactly 12:00 clock the lord mayor opens the first beer barrel in the Schottenhammel tent. With the initial pass and the exclamation "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!") the Oktoberfest is declared open. Twelve gunshots are fired on the stairway of Ruhmeshalle. This is the signal for the other restaurateurs to start with the serving of beer. Traditionally, the Bavarian Minister-President is served the first liter of beer. Then in the other tents the first barrels are tapped and beer is served to the visitors. Every year visitors eagerly await to see how many strokes the mayor needs to use before the first beer flows. Bets are even made. The best performance is still two strokes.

Grab a bratwurst and a bier, and celebrate Oktoberfest in your own way. I'll be sharing my German potato salad recipe tomorrow featuring our Saigon Street Sauce. Prost!

SourceOktoberfest. (2016, September 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:27, September 21, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oktoberfest&oldid=740193762