Oktoberfest in Vacaville -- September 28, 2013
  Story & Photos by Simone Kopitzki, Redwood Region Sponsorship Director

As many of you know I'm from Germany which may be one reason that I was asked if I could write an article about Oktoberfest. Some members even suggested that I should write this article in German so non-German speakers could have fun while trying to translate! I'm sure some people know how funny the translations can be when you use a machine to translate. Instead I'll write this article in English and be glad an editor will review it. (Ed: with pleasure! :)

First let me tell you what Oktoberfest is and why it is celebrated in September and not during October.

The first Oktoberfest was celebrated on October 17th, 1810, in Munich. Porsche cars, nor any other cars, did not yet exist at that time! The United States was still in its infancy. For instance, only nine years later Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. and it became a territory in 1822. 

Oktoberfest was originally the celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (who went on to become King Ludwig I and who built the famous Castle Neuschwanstein -- the inspiration for the castle in Disney's Cinderella) and Princess Therese. Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria in southern Germany.

Because Ludwig was a big fan of ancient Greek culture, he proposed that this event be similar to the original Olympic Games. The people liked the idea, so in the beginning years Oktoberfest included sporting events. Some considered the event as the model for today's Olympics. The first carousel was built for the event in 1818. The first beer was served in 1880. At the end of the 19th century, Oktoberfest had evolved into being a festival for the grown-ups.

The celebration was moved to September to take advantage of better weather, and the length of the event was extended. With many carousels, try-your-luck stalls, traditional Bavarian music and other types of entertainment; the festival was growing bigger and bigger.

Tragedy occurred during the 1980 event because of a terrorist attack. Many people died or were injured. This attack was one of the worst terrorist attacks in Germany. But not even this could stop the Germans from celebrating this event.

During the 200 year history of the festival it was cancelled 24 times because of wars and other political conflicts. Today it is the world's largest Folk Festival. More than six million people attend each year and the festival is exported to many continents and countries, such as Japan, Australia and of course, the U.S.

The Oktoberfest that we celebrate with our Porsche club is hosted by members Martina and Holger Seibert along with their partner Michael Miethe. They are the owners of the Pure Grain Bakery in Vacaville.

Redwood Region has been celebrating Oktoberfest since 2011 at the event in Vacaville. This year, 37 members in 21 cars attended and joined the ride/drive through the canyons around Lake Berryessa on a beautiful warm Autumn day. Some members, including our President Vern and me, showed up in traditional Bavarian outfits. Kurt, our fearless leader, led us on an enjoyable 77 mile route; fun for both drivers and navigators.

After arriving in Vacaville at the festival, Holger set up a special table in the shade for us to enjoy. We feasted on traditional German foods such Currywurst, Brats, Sauerkraut and potato salad. The German Beer "Spaten" was chilled and refreshing, especially as the temperature climbed into the 90's!

Thorsten and I felt like we were back in Germany when we watched traditional dance groups and listened to the German music band. We were further delighted by the appearance of special desserts including German cakes and pastries and of course, coffee. This was paradise for me and my husband!

Congratulations to Debi Jacobsen (from Diablo Region) who joined our tour, she won the Woman Beer Holding Stretch Contest - what an honor! Everybody seemed to have a wonderful time and I am already looking forward to the 2014 Oktoberfest!

Finally I would like to add, because this event is celebrated all over the world, many non-Germans think that Oktoberfest is a big tradition in every part of Germany. In fact, Oktoberfest is only celebrated in the Bavarian Region centered around Munich. I can assure you that in no other part of Germany will you see people wearing the "Dirndl" or "Lederhosen"!

Oh...and please have fun trying to come up with the actual meaning of the following German phrases:

Ein Bayer und ein Ami stehen vor dem Hofbräuhaus. Der Ami will ein Gespräch beginnen, holt seine Zigaretten heraus, hält sie dem Bayer hin und fragt: "Smoking?" Der Bayer lacht aus voller Brust. "Naaa, dös is a Trachtenanzug, ihr seits lustig ihr Amis."

(Google Translate may help. :)

Click for more of Simone's Oktoberfest photos. 

Past Events

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany 

The Drive to Oktoberfest - Vacaville 

Our Hosts: Maria and Holger Siebert, Michael Miethe

Redwood's Reserved Table

  Vern Rogers & Justin Raines Enjoying German Beer

Cris, Suzana, Martina & Wendy Having Fun