Willkommen zum Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a traditional autumn festival that is held in Munich, Germany. The popularity of the holiday spurred the creation of similar celebrations around the world. Allegheny will host it’s own Oktoberfest in the Max Kade International House in North Village I. The event will run 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23.

Hanna Adus, a German teaching assistant from Cologne, Germany, shared her aspirations for the students that will attend Friday’s event and what they will learn from a small presentation.

“I hope that [students] will get some background information on Oktoberfest,” said Adus. “There will be a small presentation of where this whole thing comes from, where it is celebrated and stuff like that. I think Oktoberfest is a term that almost everybody knows here, but I would like the students to be able to really say a little bit about it and to have experienced it.”

One difference between the festival on campus and an authentic Oktoberfest is the non-alcoholic beer that will be served. In Germany, this event focuses on the alcoholic beverage and the atmosphere of the people attending.

“In Germany, it is actually much bigger,” said Adus. “I would say that most of the guests wear the traditional German dresses, so we won’t see that here. The atmosphere is original, and the beer, but that is not going to happen here.”

Lisa Hageneier, a German exchange student from Cologne, explained why Allegheny students should care about the event.

“It is a great opportunity to get to know about the German culture because I think that we are used to stereotypes and things which are in our mind about a certain country, and this would be a great opportunity to get an authentic view of the culture,” said Hageneier.

The energetic atmosphere of the authentic Oktoberfest celebration is a detail Adus wants to bring to the campus for students to experience.

“I’m excited for the singing and dancing because what is very typical for the Oktoberfest is that at random times there has to be a funny song and everybody just gets up and dances and sings to that song,” said Adus. “I hope we can make that happen here, this kind of dancing and singing together, I think that’s very special and fun.”

Natasha Marzolf, ’16, a biology and German double major, expressed her excitement for the event.

“Personally, having lived in Germany and actually going to the Oktoberfest and seeing the culture, I really want people to get into the spirit of Germany,” said Marzolf.

The celebration will have an original activity planned for this year that challenges students to carry water instead of beer.

“We planned a game which is about the Oktoberfest waitresses. You can test your abilities of carrying around ‘beer,’” said Adus.

Marzolf explained the premise of the game compared to the responsibilities of actual Oktoberfest waitresses.

“The waitresses can usually carry about four to six beer steins in one hand, so we have empty gallon water jugs that we will fill with water and have people see how many water jugs they can hold in one hand,” said Marzolf.

Allegheny’s Oktoberfest will be have more authentic activities compared to past years according to Marzolf.

“This year I think what we are trying to do is incorporate more of the atmosphere in it, the singing, the dancing, the talking to people, doing random spur of the moment fun things and then the gingerbread hearts are definitely an addition that we didn’t do last year,” said Marzolf. “I hope people will find it to be exciting and fun.”

The goal of the event is to bring students together to learn about authentic German culture in a campus setting.

“When people hear Oktoberfest they think ‘oh they’re only going to speak German’, well, we probably speak more English than we do German,” said Marzolf. “It’s all about the atmosphere and getting people around campus who are interested in learning about different cultures to show up and see what it’s like being in the Max Kade Wing.”

As a German international student at Allegheny, Hageneier takes pride in her culture and is excited to share it with the campus.

“I don’t really miss home during my time here,” said Hageneier. “Sure, I miss my friends and family, but I’m really proud about my country so I’m more excited about the Oktoberfest in terms of showing everyone where I come from, showing my parents what I did here so they can see I show them my country.”