Happy Oktoberfest

It's that time of the year again when people gather to indulge in beer, sausage, sauerkraut and polka music all in the name of Oktoberfest. There are 700, 000 visitors who flood the Kitchener-Waterloo region to celebrate the second largest Bavarian festival in the world (the first being the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany). Carrying a "go big, or go home" motto with me at all times, I dressed in dirndl, alpine hat, sipped some fine lager and danced my little heart out. I wouldn't have had my first Oktoberfest experience any other way.

My partner in crime for the festivities was a local celebrity/my best friend, Nicole Stuber. Nikki, who was crowned Miss Oktoberfest 2007 and looked dashing in her lederhosen getup, is still very much involved with each annual Oktoberfest. She works very hard every year to organize, run and attend most of the week's events including charity breakfasts, competitions, galas as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. We started the night at her club (The Kitchener Schwaben Club) and split a German combo meal which included sausage, sauerkraut, schnitzel, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffed cabbage rolls and bread. We washed down the carbs with more carbs AKA beer. After the traditional meal, I'm sure the traditional dirndl which Nikki lent me for the night was about to bust at the seams. So we hit the dance floor where I was taught all the official Oktoberfest dances along with the song lyrics all somehow revolving around beer and Jagermeister.

We were joined by two brave ladies to create the only all-girls team for the log cutting competition. Two girls had to sit on each end of a log while the other two took turns sawing. The team with the most cuts in the log in the allotted time won. We were pretty proud of our third place finish considering first and second place teams were made up of burly lumberjacks. Our prize was a lovely set of 2010 Jagermeister foam horns in a shade of construction orange.

We ventured over to Condordia Club, which was over capacity very early on in the night. Luckily Nikki had all the connections and we had no problem getting into the private board room and sneaking some Jagermeister shots with the club president. Adjoined to the club was a huge tent filled with veteran beer chuggers, music and more delightful carb-induced meals.

I learned a lot about the German culture this week. Not only do Germans love beer, but Nikki's cousin who was visiting from Germany, taught me that the knots tied onto a woman's dirndl are an indication of her marital status. I found the rundown very interesting.

Knot tied on left side = single and ready to mingle

Knot tied on right side = married, engaged or "taken"

Knot tied at back = widowed or divorced

I couldn't understand why Andrea, wearing her beautiful green dirndl, tied a knot at the back of her dress for most of the night. Well aware of the symbolism (or so she thought), she believed the back knot indicated her sacred virginity. When I broke the news about the cold hard truth of her back knot, it clicked as to why men weren't approaching her that night. It's funny how women have to carry around their baggage and symbols for all to see and judge while men freely scamper around in their lederhosen. We had a good long laugh and then shared another pint of beer. Prosit!

My BFF and I dressed in full German garb

The only all-girls team


Shot skis!

Limbo mania

Secret handshake

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