It might be shorter than its German counterpart, and there’s no bier, but Big Walnut High School German language students celebrate Oktoberfest with the same level of enthusiasm as residents of Munich.
Oktoberfest is a festival held each year in Munich during late September and early October. It’s one of the most famous events in the city and the world’s largest fair, with some 7.2 million people attending last year.
“Our in-class Oktoberfest is one of the activities sponsored by our high school’s German Club,” said Big Walnut German language teacher Georgia Craig. “Students bring German desserts and the German Club provides brats and everything else.”
The first Oktoberfest took place in Munich on October 12, 1810. The festival traditionally takes place during the 16 days leading up to and including the first week in October. In 1990, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3, German Unity Day.
Oktoberfest numbers are impressive: 12,000 people are employed at Oktoberfest. Of these, 1,600 are waitresses (a.k.a Barmaids). There is seating available for 100,000 people, and the six Oktoberfest breweries, (Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, and Löwenbräu) sold 6.9 million liters of beer during the 2015 Oktoberfest.
One statistic of note: 60 percent of Oktoberfest visitors arrive by public transport. There are no statistics available indicating how the other 40 percent got home after a day in the bier tents.
According to Frau Craig, Munich’s Oktoberfest might be compared to the Ohio State Fair, except take away the livestock and add much more beer.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.