Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Countdown im Zelt

[ Countdown in the tent ]

Vierzehn Minuten!

As we pushed into the tent, it was immediately apparent what the commotion was all about. A man, probably of very important standing – maybe a politician or the owner? – was standing at the middle stage and surrounded by musicians preparing the crowd. It was a countdown until noon, and everyone was anxiously awaiting the beginning of the festivities inside. My friends and I wedged by a wall and stood next to another table where there happened to be an American man sitting amongst some German colleagues or co-workers that we began to chat with. They had reserved their table and had already been there early in the morning as well.

Zehn Minuten!

When we told him about our waiting at the first tent, he laughed and told us we should have purchased some outfits. In Jennifer’s case, he said “if ya woulda bought a Dirndl and pushed those girls up to eye level, you would have been into any tent here.” The comment was hilarious, and actually quite true. The surroundings had almost everyone seemingly dressed in traditional attire, and you actually felt a bit out of place without it. [ note to self that next time I come to Oktoberfest in my life – yes it is definitely worth coming back to – I will have a Lederhosen complete with the little handkerchief scarf, loafer shoes, and wool socks that only cover your calf muscles… my experience will be complete!].

Vier Minuten!

The minutes were ticking down, and you could feel the antsy-ness in the room – the volume was already at a roar. Part of the band that was playing in the streets entered the tent to a burst of cheers. The old men clad in feather-stuck hats and velvet green vests and matching shorts proudly marched the tent and circled the crowds blasting great oom-pah-pah sounds of Bavarian music from their tubas and accordions.

Ein Minut!

The waitresses and waiters were ready – as if they were a team with a mission – along the wall waiting to get their dozens of beers to carry fresh from the tap. The crowd was like something I had never witnessed before. It was what I would assume being in a huge ballroom counting down for New Years would be like – but instead of a new year with new resolutions, this was for BEER!

Zwanzig!

20 Seconds – the people were cheering and probably salivating for their long awaited drinks.

Funfzehn!

Fifteen- people were on tables now.

Zehn, neun, acht, sieben…

It was a made countdown and even being at the edge walls and not at the tables, you were jumping like mad as if your beer was coming out too in only…

…Drei, zwei, eins!

It was official! Oktoberfest was open. I had my camera out, and I captured the blur of events of men screaming and hollering like kids, and waitresses pushing through the crowds carrying eleven mugs – yes, eleven LITERS of beer – in one go.

Cheers!

Prost!

Clinks, clacks, mugs swinging, more cheers, and a bunch of yelling and celebrating, Oktoberfest was underway and I was able to witness the excitement first hand. I was so happy that I ventured out and checked out the tents, and wedge into the crowd to check out the scene. The event was truly one of a kind and the excitement was one that I don’t think could be replicated at any other mimicking Oktoberfest around Germany or the world except for this real-deal here in Munich.

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