I’m having two banner weekends in a row! DSD (Digital Scrapbooking Day) this weekend & Oktoberfest last weekend. Woooooohoooooooo! I have some awesome photo’s to scrap & as soon as I’m done working, I’m off to shop & get the perfect kits. It’s a rainy day over here. Shopping and crafting are the perfect activities for today.

I’ll be honest, I’ve skipped Oktoberfest for the last three years. After living in Germany for 10 years, I wasn’t quite as motivated to go. Still when Dave’s best friend moved to Amsterdam at the end of the summer, I knew we’d be going this year. I’ve been shopping for new dirdnl’s ever since. Not so much because I wanted a new one, though who doesn’t want new outfits? But because I outgrew my old ones from 10 years ago. Getting old(er) sucks. Sigh. Poor me needing new dirdnl’s right?

A dirndl is a traditional Bavarian dress. Technically, I do not live in Bayern though the state border is less than two hours from me. I live in Baden Württemberg and while the traditional trachten (“to wear” or traditional clothing) out here still look similar to dirndl’s, they are also reminiscent of the Alsace region in France. Not that any of the matters. At fest you wear dirndl’s & lederhosen whether you are in Stuttgart or München.

I happily started to put mine on last Friday, but by the time I finished wriggling into my crop-top blouse, heavy dress, zipping it up, lacing the corset-like top, struggling with the bow then struggling with the apron bow (I tie it to the right because I’m married. Left is single, back is widow & front is virgin), and then I had to do my hair? I was all hot & sweaty. I wasn’t even in a beer tent yet swinging my 10-pound beer around like a mad woman.

Steve, Dave’s best friend, happily slipped into his lederhosen. I have an old pair handed down from a friend that is perfectly cured old leather. Steve was feeling his pants. He happily strutted around, looking in mirrors, enjoying his new style. I’m seriously considering going modern and getting a pair of my own. That was one happy man.

As always, leaving the house in our traditional German clothing, I felt silly. We left on a Friday afternoon, our neighbors still tending fields, walking kids to afterschool play dates, and we the auslanders (foreigners) were all dressed up to go drink beer. I fast walked to my van, got in & rushed Steve. He was still admiring his pants.

I only drove to the next train station down the hill, parked the van and we, thankfully, joined a couple other festers in traditional garb. I no longer felt alone, silly or awkward. I grabbed a gruppestagticket (group ticket) and halfway to Stuttgart we picked up Dave, standing in the rain feeling silly in his lederhosen. If you have to wear lederhosen, it’s better to do it in a group than all alone on a train platform.

Soon the train was overflowing with party people, most of them pre-beering. Because. They were young. I knew our tickets included three liters of beer and half a chicken. It’s a fest tradition. I also know I’m well beyond the age were I can drink three liters of beer. All three of us were planning on getting Radlers, or beer mixed with zitrone (like Sprite, but better).

By the time we reached the fest grounds, I could barely breath the train was so full. I lost sight of Steve & Dave as soon as we stepped out of the train. Luckily they waited for me just outside the station and we made our way into the Wasen (roughly, the fairgrounds). We almost made it in when the skies opened and buckets of water rained down. We sheltered, half dry, under an awning with some other poor souls waiting it out till it slowed to a trickle.  Then we popped back out & raced on to our tent.

Our friend were already inside, at our reserved table, beers in front of them & a big sampler plate of snacks. I adore the sampler plates of snacks! Kitschy wooden planks, filled with cheese, radishes, pickles, meats & more they are perfect to nosh while swinging & swigging beer. The band had just started, and I could still sit on my bench, catch up with Laura, snack, and dry off.

Less than 15 minutes later I was up on my feet, on top of the bench, swinging my beer and yodeling “Sweet Caroline” at the top of my voice alongside thousands of German.

Steve showing off his “Loferl” a two-part sock. Because.

They have CHURRO’s!

First beer. First fest of the season. At the Fürstenberg tent.

Dave had a hat. Steve bought a hat. They are stupid happy.

I stepped out for a little air, the tents get hot! Our tent is across the way from the Haunted Mansion.

The Friday night gang

On top of three liters of beer… you must drink shots out of tiny bottles. And you must do it with the cap on your nose, as Dave demonstrates here.

Fest round 1 is over. Finding our way out. Steve poses with his new favorite pants.

Amber, random stranger, and me.

Sunday, 11 am. Round two. I can barely move.

But it’s not raining & we caught a little of the parade.

We are at Dave’s favorite tent. The one with the BEST chicken: Göckelesmaier

You can see Dave’s enthusiasm LOL! And it’s not even chicken time yet.

We lasted 3 whole hours. I’ll need to come back with the kids for rides. I need a nap (for days!).

Dave, me & his favorite chicken.

Fest is a dirty business.