Do You Know Answers To These Ten Oktoberfest Questions?

Posted by Tom Telford on Wed, Oct 09, 2013

Fall has arrived in northern Georgia, and that means that visitors are flocking to the area to celebrate Oktoberfest Helen!

Hoist a pint, join the parade and eat a brat when you head to Helen this fall. Oktoberfest in Helen is the longest running Oktoberfest celebration in the world and starts in mid-September running through the end of October. There is nothing quite like experiencing the traditional German fall festival and celebration in Helen. What you find at the Oktoberfest in Germany is what you’ll find right here in Helen Gerogia.


The annual festival is well known as a time to eat, drink, and be merry. But why do we celebrate Oktoberfest, and how did it begin?

These interesting facts about the traditional Bavarian festival, traditions, and a history review will provide you with some insight.

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Ten Interesting Facts About Oktoberfest

1. Do You Know the Name of the German State Where

   Oktoberfest originated?

The first Oktoberfest celebration took place in Munich, Germany, which is in the state (or Bundesland) of Bavaria. Oktoberfest Helen GA is modeled after a Bavarian Alpine village and is a particularly unique American rendition of the festival.

2. How did the First Oktoberfest Get Started?

Although many people believe that Oktoberfest is merely an excuse to drink alcohol, the very first Oktoberfest was in commemoration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festivities continued for five days, and everything was topped off with a horse race. At that time Bavaria was starting to develop as an official kingdom and the celebration became significant in establishing the state's cultural identity.

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3. Why is it called "Oktoberfest" if it occurs during

    September?

Although Munich's Oktoberfest now begins in September, the original celebration took place in October.  Traditionally, the festival is scheduled so that it includes the first Sunday of October, and they refer to the beers served at the festival as Oktoberfestbiers. As with Munich's celebration, Oktoberfest Helen usually begins mid-September but runs even longer - through the end of October.

4. How many people attend Oktoberfest each year?

The Munich Oktoberfest is known as the largest Volksfest (People's Fair) in the entire world. Nearly six million people attend the festival each year. Interestingly enough, 15% of those who attend in Munich are from foreign countries.

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5. What is the traditional way to open the Oktoberfest

    celebration?

Oktoberfest isn't Oktoberfest without the traditional tapping of the keg. On the first day of the celebration, the mayor of Munich kicks off the festivities by tapping the first beer barrel and showing "O'zapft is!" which means "It is tapped!" At that point, the start of the celebration is official. Steins remain full for the remainder of the festival. Oktoberfest Helen follows the tradition with an official tapping of the keg to kick-off the festival.

6. What is the Oktoberfest rule about beer?

According to the standards of the Oktoberfest celebration, all beer has to be from the six breweries of Munich. These breweries include Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbrau, and Lowenbrau. In addition to this, the beer must adhere to the purity standard or "Reinheitsgebot." That means they restrict recipes to using barley, malt yeast, and hops. Although Oktoberfest Helen serves up large volumes of German beers, the rules are a bit more relaxed. Festival attendees can feel free to enjoy their domestic favorites, too.

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7. What is the traditional toast used at Oktoberfest?

Although in America, we tend to toast by saying "Cheers!," during Oktoberfest, it's more fun to use the traditional German toast of "Prost!". That translates to "To your health." To ensure a guest's drink was not poison, a toast was developed from the ancient practice of a host pouring and drinking wine before serving dinner. At Oktoberfest Helen, they continue to embrace the beloved toast.

8. How much beer do people consume during

    Oktoberfest?

As incredible as it may sound, over 7 million liters of beer are consumed at Oktoberfest each year - that's enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 2.4 times! With the high number of festival-goers, this isn't quite as alarming as it initially appears.

9. What do the Germans call those who overindulge on

    beer?

Because beer is a staple for Oktoberfest, some festival goers may overindulge and find themselves passed out on the grounds. The Germans refer to those poor souls as "Bierleichen" which translates to "beer corpses." To avoid becoming a Bierleichen at Oktoberfest Helen GA, it's a good idea to drink responsibly, and remember to keep your belly full of something other than just beer. A soft pretzel, bratwurst, or delicious strudel should do the trick.

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10. Is it a good idea to bring children to Oktoberfest?

Despite the prevalence of beer, Oktoberfest is a family-friendly festival, and children are welcome to enjoy food, dance, and togetherness.

Download Oktoberfest Guide

Oktoberfest Traditions Folks Love

Live Music and Dancing

Most nights in the Helen Festhalle, you can catch a live band playing a wide variety of music. The live music is nearly nonstop, and dancing-on-tables threatens to break out at any time. The atmosphere is never anything but jovial. 

And what’s an Oktoberfest celebration without dancing? Enjoy watching or join in as women dance adorned in dirndl skirts, and men sing wearing lederhosen breeches in buildings with exposed timbers and cobblestones. The whole city of Helen, GA has been designed to resemble an Alpine village, along with a rush of water flowing through it all just like in Bavaria.

You’ll feel like you’ve been transported across the ocean as you drink your beer and sing along and dance with the good-humored German songs. There’ll be some shoe slapping dances, yodeling, group and Polka dancing, and the infamous chicken dance!

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Oktoberfest Opening Festival and Parade

The opening festivities are the centerpiece of the entire affair. Oktoberfest kicks off with our world-famous annual parade with entrants coming from far and wide to Northern Georgia including businesses and civic organizations from around Georgia. There are floats, horses, walkers, and all the bells and whistles creating an eye-popping blend of traditional German attire, music, floats, and more.

The parade has a decidedly Germanic and alpine flair that delights festival goers of all ages. The celebration goes on all day - several days, literally - with nonstop parties, music, and fun. 

Helen Festhalle

Following the parade, and for weeks afterward, the Helen Festhalle is the center for German fun during Oktoberfest. Perhaps the best part about Oktoberfest is the feeling of just being there.

The Germans call this "Gemutlichkeit." There isn't a direct English translation, but it's the feeling of coziness, belonging, good cheer and communion with your fellow man (or woman). That's the feeling you'll get from being in the Festhalle. It's a room filled with long tables perfect for meeting up with new friends and old and sharing in the Gemutlichkeit of the Oktoberfest in Helen, GA.

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German Dining

Oktoberfest in Helen, GA isn't Oktoberfest without the inclusion of some great German food. Helen offers up great food, from a variety of restaurants in and around Helen, GA, to go along with the beer, bratwurst and rolls.

You’ll nosh on Hendl, Schweinebraten, Steckerlfisch, and Schweinshaxe. That’s traditional chicken, roast pork, grilled fish on a stick, and grilled ham hock, for those of you who don’t know German. Along with these savory meats, you can feast on sausages, pretzels, potato dumplings, cheese noodles, potato pancakes, Sauerkraut, a spiced cheese-butter spread called Obatzda, and the famous white sausage, known as Weisswurst, that you can only eat before noon. You’ll keep a full stomach and smile on your face.

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The Georgia Apple Festival

Many know North Georgia throughout the world for its unique clay-rich soils, which contribute to some of the best grape and apple groves you'll find anywhere in the US.  The annual Georgia Apple Festival, held in early October, pays homage to harvest festivals of days past while providing mouth-watering apple dishes of all types.

Beyond all the pies, ice creams, cobblers, and cider you can drink, the Apple Festival hosts an annual classic car show.  It's the best of pure Americana and should be part of your Oktoberfest adventures in Helen.

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Relax In A Cabin Under The Stars

Sure, Oktoberfest means nonstop parties, but there comes a time to sleep and refresh. While Helen features many fabulous hotels, for the best Oktoberfest experience, rent a luxury cabin in the woods!

You'll find Cedar Creek Cabins nestled in the foothills of the Southern Appalachians, only a few minutes outside Helen.  We have forty cabins offering amenities specific to romantic couples, family gatherings, and small or large groups of friends. You’ll find cabins with private decks, luxury spas, sounds of the flowing Chattahoochee, a view of but nothing trees, mountains, and the endless sky above and more!

Bavarian Tradition Without The Airfare

Have you wanted to experience the merriment of the real Oktoberfest in Munich and drink and dance as the Germans? Fortunately for you, there’s no need to pay thousands of dollars to fly to Germany, when you can have an authentic Oktoberfest experience in Helen! 

Getting to Helen, GA is easy. The city is located around 70 miles from Atlanta and is within driving distance from many cities in the country. Atlanta is one of the biggest airports in the country, and you can find an affordable flight from anywhere in the United States.

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A Little History Review of Oktoberfest

For over four decades, the city of Helen, GA has hosted an annual Oktoberfest in its charming Bavarian town. Helen was rebuilt to bring the best and most charming old-world Bavarian styles to America, resulting in a tiny town that feels like you're in the Alps. 

To this day, Oktoberfest is celebrated annually. It is so popular that cities all over the world are hosting their own Oktoberfest festivals. But the most authentic Oktoberfest of them all is unquestionably the Helen, GA Oktoberfest. 

Our Additional Oktoberfest Content

In our Oktoberfest hub, you'll find articles to help you plan your next Oktoberfest trip. The list below includes everything you'll find in the resource hub.

 

Come and Visit Helen This Fall!

It’s clear why the Helen, GA Oktoberfest is the longest running Oktoberfest celebration in the country. The music, the food, the beer, the city, the traditions and the people make the festival so memorable and enjoyable.

Thousands flock to Helen every year to experience our German festival.  Is it time for you to join the fun? Reserve your cabin today!

Oktoberfest Trivia

Have you been to an Oktoberfest festival? What about one in Helen, GA? What was it like and how did you celebrate Bavarian tradition? Share your tips in the comments section below on how to enjoy the Helen, GA Oktoberfest to the fullest!

Topics: Oktoberfest, Cabin Rentals, History & The Arts
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