Full Disclaimer: having never actually been to an Oktoberfest, I was unsure what to expect. I was told that the partygoers would be a mix of alumni and current St Andrews students, Dirndls and Lederhosens would be abounding. Grey alpine hats (Tirolerhüte) were passed around, and it was as though I’d been whisked away to Bavaria. Prior to arriving I had also been told the experience would be indiscernible from the original Oktoberfest (the world’s biggest funfair according to their website) to the point it would be impossible to differentiate between the two.
The mood is merry and bright, with partygoers dancing atop tables and setting the dance floor on fire. There was never a moment where the dance floor was empty! Authentic Bavarian Isarseidl glasses were clinked repeatedly, and even (the majority) non-German guests were exclaiming ‘prost’ when their glasses met their friends’. Stoabach Buam, a Bavarian band, performed songs that seemed to resonate with the entire audience, with everyone busting traditional Bavarian dance moves.
The food on offer, a variety of traditional Bavarian fare, ranging from sweet to savoury, was absolutely delectable. I myself tried the cinnamon rolls, gingerbread hearts (a staple at Oktoberfest celebrations) and a bratswurst sausage. There was also a selection of roast pork and other fair-style confections. St Andrews Events Bar, one of the sponsors of Oktoberfest ran the bar, where there were other options for non-beer drinkers such as piper-heinseick, jaegarsmeisters and gin and tonics. Paulaner, the official beer of the St Andrews Charity Oktoberfest was present, as it has been consumed as the beverage of choice dating back to 1810. Not being much of a beer drinker, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed drinking a few mas (1 litre mugs) of beer – surely that is an indicator that the beer on offer was great.
With lovely weather, many were keen to venture outside the barn of Kinkell to La Bamba, which was set up outside. I think it was wise for people to head over in flocks to the ride before drinking and eating. The weather ensured that there was space inside for guests to sit around and spend time with one another, and with La Bamba outside a rare chance for guests to gaze upon the tumultuous waves of the North Sea. I was very impressed with das Komittees’ seamless running of the event, as the day ran smoothly with a high level of professionalism.
This past weekend has been a rather interesting one, as the arrival of Oktoberfest could be seen all over St Andrews, with guests donning their traditional garb in the early hours of Saturday morning. With several pre-events leading up to Oktoberfest, featuring a launch Friday evening and a brunch on Sunday, the weekend was chockfull of opportunities to wear one’s expensive dirndls bought for the occasion. These gestures demonstrated how das Komittee committed themselves to going above and beyond in their hosting duties. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend my Saturday and am most definitely looking forward to both fantastic Oktoberfest celebrations (both locally and abroad) next year. Prost!