The origins of Oktoberfest are in a wedding feast for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810. The festival is held in Munich at the end of the month of September. So it almost goes without saying that this southern German festival is celebrated in a robust fashion across Australia during the month of October.
Ben and I ate so much roasted pork hock, sauerkraut and potato dumplings when we were in Munich that we are genetically part German now. So a few weekends ago Ben and I took our newly acquired Bavarian DNA, traditional costumes and our friend Sean (the groom who eats dessert with both hands) and headed down to Otway Estate to celebrate Oktoberfest in a day of beer-fuelled frivolity.
The good folk of Otway Estate did their best to encourage responsible behaviour. We purchased an entry ticket that included a bus transfer from Colac train station so getting there and home was made easy. There was no need to argue over who would be the designated driver. Unfortunately Vline didn’t hold up there end of the bargain. There are only 3 trains a day to Colac, morning, afternoon and evening. So we boarded the train at Geelong station at 9am, we arrived at Colac station at 10am and we were at the winery by 10.30am. What else were we to do? We collected our souvenir beer steins and started the day with a special Prickly Moses Oktoberfest brew.
I took a pic of the boys looking fresh in the morning.
I asked Ben to take a photo of me in my Bavarian dress. I love this dress that I bought on my last day in Munich. This was the first photo Ben took… after only 2 sips of beer. Well, at least I know he likes me when he’s sober.
Our friend Sean was very proud of his German hat decorated with pins that he collected during his travels across Germany. He was feeling very special until he spotted this bloke with a hat so highly decorated it was amazing that he could wear it without breaking his neck.
Turns out he was with the band and by the end of the conversation we had agreed to a golfing holiday at Howlong and another trip to see his German band play in some other random small town which escapes me now. But the important thing is that we got a closer look at his hat. Those pins weren’t all from Germany! There was a couple from Falls Creek in there as well as other Australian towns. Sean’s feelings of superiority returned.
Next thing I knew a crowd had formed and there was lots of yelling. I went to investigate and found that the Strong Man competition had begun. I was very impressed with the respect shown to beer in the Strong Man competition. While normally the competition would involve holding steins filled with beer at arm’s length for as long as possible, the good people at Otway Estate filled the glasses with water instead. This meant no tears when the inevitable happened and all that was lost was water, not precious beer.
At some point people dressed in traditional costumes started slap dancing and throwing young boys into the air. Even at this early stage I knew that I did not have the coordination required to learn slap dancing and while I might be capable of throwing a young boy into the air I could not be relied upon to catch him on the way down.
Then Ben found a cousin. This is not hard for Ben because he has over 20 aunties and uncles scattered across the Western district.
Then a game involving throwing pig trotters into a bucket started up. This game proved to be most popular possibly because the prize for getting your trotter into the bucket was a free stein of beer. But people’s aim was disappointing poor by this stage of the day and I think that only one stein of Prickly Moses beer was given away.
Ben reported that aim was also very poor in the men’s toilets.
It was at this point that I realised that we had lost Sean.
And I discovered that boys in dresses love having their pictures taken.
Not long after there was a sack race with a lot more falling over than usual.
Then I was propositioned by a Colacian* in a manner so foul that I cannot believe that this creature would ever have convinced anyone, ever, to sleep with him. On the upside, I did get to see Ben’s death stare (yep he did this within hearing of my husband) and the Colacian scampered back into the hole from whence he came.
Then there was a conga line.
After watching the not very German conga line do a few laps I got myself at Bratwurst in a roll with cabbage and did a cursory lap of the car park to look for Sean. I didn’t find him but I did picture myself having to describe him to the SES volunteers who would have to search the Otway Forest for him “He is wearing a hat like the guy in the band but his is much more authentic”.
Then Sean reappeared. Yay!
But he looked like this… Boo!
And then the day was over and it was time to get back on the bus, then the train, make a quick stop at Texas Burgers for dinner and go home.
The following morning I woke up with a German hangover, that is I barely had one at all. Prickly Moses beer has one very important ingredient in common with German beer, pure water. Or maybe it was Texas that saved me again…
(*my made up word for a Colac local)