I guess this has become everyone’s recent catch phrase- Normally, at this time of year, we would be (fill in your favorite activity here.) But, of course, this year isn’t normal and you can’t …
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I guess this has become everyone’s recent catch phrase- Normally, at this time of year, we would be (fill in your favorite activity here.) But, of course, this year isn’t normal and you can’t do so many really important things, it’s hard to even think about going places just for fun that you used to head to every year.
So, normally, I’d be writing about a slew of Oktoberfests going on in the area at this time of year, but I can’t confirm that a single one is still happening. I know Denver has canceled their big one, but so have almost all other places. They have even canceled the best known, major league one in Munich. One way I could tell you this for sure, without even having to look it up, was by talking with a friend of mine who plays with a very popular German band that is always booked solid for every polka party during September and October. I’m talking about 2-3 gigs per day, every weekend, all over the state. This year? They have two gigs booked, and none of them are for any Oktoberfests. I guess if they still can’t put fans in sports stadiums, figuring out how to manage crowds elbow to elbow drinking beer, eating food from vendors and packing a dance floor is probably quite a ways off yet.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own private Oktoberfest at home. I know that doesn’t sound like much fun and maybe a lot of work, but trust me, you can do this quite easily and make it into a little adventure.
So, first of all you are going to need some beer. Not just any beer, but Oktoberfest beer. You can approach this in two ways. One is to grab a case of some regular German beer right from the old country, the stuff you find all the time in the liquor store cooler. Beck’s is probably the best known example of that type of thing, but there are more. Option number two is to look for a seasonal brew made just for Oktoberfest from one of our local breweries here in Colorado.
Local Oktoberfest beer? Really? Yes, and you have more to choose from that you might imagine. I found this website, Porchdrinking.com, that has a list of over 60 Colorado breweries that are releasing something special for the season. I can’t list them all here, but if you go to their website you can find the article and check them out.
Looking for those should keep you occupied for a while and make for a very entertaining scavenger hunt.
OK, so next on the list is the food. Yes, German cooking is an art unto itself, but you don’t need to go all gourmet for a home Oktoberfest. Just head to the grocery store and grab a few easy things. Start off with some Brats. You can cook those on the barbecue or just grill them in a pan. You’re also going to want some Sauerkraut. They also have that at the grocery store, but if you really want to add a bit of authenticity to the whole thing, head to one of the international market stores and look for a jar of Hengstenberg Bavarian Style from Germany. That’s the real deal and trust me on this one, it’s worth checking out. Add to that a can of German potato salad from the canned vegetable aisle that you can just heat up in a pan, a loaf of rye bread or just some hot dog buns plus some spicy mustard and your food is good to go.
Now, as far as music goes, just search the Internet for German polka music. There’s a ton of it on there you can either stream or download and some of it is totally free.
Now as far as wardrobe goes, well if you have some lederhosen or a dirndl dress, well just put it on with an alpine hat. But, since you are doing this at home, you could just wear a pair of shorts, your bathrobe or a baseball cap, who cares? You can even give yodeling a shot. If you keep it up long enough your dogs might even join in. So, have a some fun with this and next year, we’ll do this all together, in person somewhere, OK? Prost!
John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at email@example.com
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