Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

Oktoberfest is renowned world wide and is held annually in the German city of Munich, Bavaria,  for a fun-packed 16 days. Despite its name it starts in mid September though it does “spill over” (literally I would imagine) to the first weekend of October!

I haven’t actually been to Munich or the Oktoberfest celebrations there though we are planning to remedy the former by visiting Munich and Bavaria next April. We won’t be there at the right time to experience the festivities of Oktoberfest though and I can’t honestly say I’m too disappointed by this! However I did have the opportunity to go along to the Oktoberfest evening at the Rhein – Donau Club  in Perth last week along with my  German Language Class Group. 

The Rhein-Donau Club (Inc.) was established in Perth in the late 1950’s and has been based at its present premises in the southern suburb of Myaree since 1959. The idea was to provide a facility and meeting place for people of German speaking backgrounds in Perth (that includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland) plus anyone else interested in German heritage, culture, cuisine and traditions. Hence the name is a combination of the two major central European rivers the Rhein (Rhine) and the Danube (Donau).

Now I knew that I had a family connection by marriage to the Rhein – Donau Club as my son-in-law’s grandfather (or Opa) was an active member for many years. I didn’t realise until last week however, through talking to my daughter’s mother-in-law (and Opa’s daughter – with me?) that her father was actually a founding member of the club. He emigrated to Perth with his wife after the Second World War from Austria. For many years he and his wife and family were an integral part of the Rhein – Donau community. He was on many committees and even managed the bar there for a while! They practically lived at the club at weekends and his daughters all had their wedding receptions there. So it was rather a happy coincidence that I found myself at the Rhein – Donau Club  for their annual Oktoberfest celebrations this year. Since my son -in-law’s “Opa” sadly passed away a few years ago this is a pictorial tribute to Oktoberfest in Perth which I hope would have done him proud!

 

First things first, food and drink! I was slightly apprehensive as I’m not a huge fan of traditional German fayre such as bratwurst nor do I like beer. I had heard that at the Munich festival a request for a glass of wine or even worse, water,  was likely to be met with horror. However I’m pleased to report that here in Perth, the catering committee of the Rhein Donau Club had thought of everyone and there was a good selection of both food and beverages on offer.

We had been told to expect traditional entertainment so were a little puzzled when we were treated to a local duo (admittedly dressed the part in traditional Bavarian hats) belting out cover versions of old rock songs: “Rockin All Over The World” by Status Quo, “I’m A Believer” by the Monkees and even “Que Sera, Sera”, which was an interesting choice of language to say the least. However according to the promotional blurb they do have a Germanic name “Die Lustigen Jungs” which translates into English as “the funny guys” so I think it was all very much tongue in cheek!

In due course the Master Of Ceremonies announced the traditional entertainment and the dirndl clad ladies of the “Echo der Berge” or Bell Ringers began with renditions of various traditional German songs such as “Edelweiss” culminating in a wonderful performance of “Waltzing Matilda” (a symbolic gesture to Oktoberfest in Australia). Though they made it look easy, I think it would actually take hours of practice and a good deal of skill to play the bells as well as they did!

The Echo der Berge bell ringing group performing as part of the Oktoberfest celebrations in Perth

The Echo der Berge bell ringing group performing as part of the Oktoberfest celebrations in Perth

Next came the Edelweiss Dance Group which included some vigorous thigh slapping by the male dancers (all above board!).

And a “best dressed” dirndl parade with some interesting costumes and participants!

The winner was chosen by the audience!

Winner of the best dressed dirndl competition!

Winner of the best dressed dirndl competition!

Finally there was the “Stein” holding contest which requires considerable strength! The rules are as follows: Contestants must hold a 1-litre glass stein (half litre for the ladies) filled to the top with beer with their arm outstretched for as long as possible. The arm cannot be bent and must (hopefully) remain parallel to the floor. Any beer spillage results in disqualification. The winner is the last man and woman still standing, with their arm straight out ahead and their stein still full. Incredible to think that the waiters and waitresses in Munich are expected to be able to carry a few of these all at once. Although I didn’t take part in the competition I am reliably told each stein is very heavy even when empty!

My audience participation was limited to linking arms and swaying along (schunkeln) to the traditional beer songs!

Stein holding contest Oktoberfest

Stein holding contest Oktoberfest

 

The Rhein Donau Club holds Oktoberfest evenings every Friday and Saturday throughout October and the beginning of November culminating this year with an Oktoberfest Family Day on Sunday November 2nd 2014 with free admission from 2 – 6 pm. The rest of the evenings cost $10 admission for members and $15 per person for guests.

In addition to the food and entertainment, some of the groups that meet regularly at the club,  put on exhibitions. The Rhein Donau European Model Railway Group’s was outstanding!

The Schuetzengruppe (Air Rifle Group) had organised a shooting gallery round the back (with blanks only)!

And there you have it – Oktoberfest “Down Under”! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would definitely go again next year. How about everyone else? Has anyone got any interesting Oktoberfest experiences to share and if you’ve been to the actual festival in Munich how did you find it?

Bis naechste Woche! Auf wiedersehen! Tschuess!

Copyright © 2014 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

16 thoughts on “Oktoberfest Down Under!

  1. I’ve never been to an oktoberfest, but it looks awesome ! All these traditionnal costumes and it looks like a lot of fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gin it was certainly a fun night – I think it was probably a lot less rowdy here in Perth than at the Munich festival! 🙂

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  2. Isabel von Prollius says:

    Guten Abend Rosemary,

    I just read your latest blog post. Great photos and well written! I just wanted to point out the arm-linking action is not called ‘schaukeln’, it’s ‘schunkeln’.

    Liebe Gruesse, Isabel

    Isabel von Prollius

    http://www.german-translations.com.au

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vielen Dank Isabel! Am glad you enjoyed the blog post! I’m sorry about my “fehler” though and have amended it to “schunkeln” forthwith! I couldn’t find the correct spelling anywhere and had a feeling it was not quite right. I should have asked you to proofread it for me first before publishing! Hope I’ve got everything else in German correct though – am sure you would have let me know if I hadn’t! It was a lovely evening and very well organised by the Rhein-Donau Club here in Perth. Have a great weekend, Liebe Gruesse Rosemary 🙂

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  3. Looks like a lot of fun. Munich is a very nice city. We went in Dec 2012 to visit the Christmas Markets which was great. (Suzanne)

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    1. Yes it was a great night Suzanne and very entertaining. How lovely that you went to the Christmas Markets – they are on my wishlist for future travels! I have heard mixed reports so it’s good to know that you enjoyed visiting them. If you’ve any tips and advice for visiting Munich I’d love to hear about them too. We are planning an 8 day trip there next European Spring. Thanks for visiting here again and have a lovely weekend 🙂

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      1. I don’t understand why you would get mixed reviews of Christmas Markets as they are a lot of fun, especially in Germany as they originate from there. There are actually multiple markets throughout the city and it is great fun to wander through them. We did a post on it: Munich Christmas Spirit.

        You can also see Munich in Photos. We were there only for 2 days so didn’t get a chance to explore everything. I had been previously on a business trip and had gone to Dachau (one of the Nazi concentration camps) and it was a very sobering experience. If you have the stomach for it I would highly recommend it. Munich also has a number of wonderful museums that are well worth a visit. I believe the surrounding areas are also worth a visit. I hope this helps.

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        1. Thank you so much for this comprehensive reply Suzanne much appreciated and so quick too! Yes I have always thought the Christmas Markets would be an amazing experience too so I will discount the negative comments I heard and will hopefully go and see for myself at some time in the future! I will enjoy reading your articles “Munich Christmas Spirit” and “Munich In Pictures” too – thanks so much for sending me through the links to those! We were planning to go to Dachau as I feel it is very important thing to do. We have previously been to Sachsenhausen near Berlin and it’s hard to describe the raw emotion you feel visiting such places. Will look forward to walking around Munich too and visiting the museums (right up my street) plus we want to head out to the Bavarian Alps and some of the other Bavarian towns too. Thanks so much again for taking the time to send me through all this information, have a great weekend Rosemary 🙂

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  4. This sounds great fun Rosemary, seems like they got the atmosphere and everything else spot on. I’ve never been to the Oktoberfest despite spending a year living near Munich!! Have been to the beer halls though and I always find it unbelievable how the waitresses can hoist a huge number of steins up in the air, I struggle with one!!

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    1. Yes they did a great job of organising an authentic Oktoberfest evening Joy! Always the way when you live in a place you don’t go to the main attractions and the beer halls would be just as fun I’d imagine. I’m amazed by the steins – as you say one would be a struggle! We’re planning to go to Munich next April but not of course Oktoberfest! Schoenes Wochenende 🙂

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  5. colibrist says:

    I’ve never been in Oktoberfest but once I saw a stein that someone bought in Germany and I can confirm it is very heavy!
    My parents went to Munich last summer and told me there are some amazing castles nearby. Seems to be a very nice destination 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laia 🙂 I don’t think I’d like to carry several steins all at once – the wait staff at Oktoberfest must have huge muscles by the end of the festival! That’s good to hear that your parents enjoyed Munich – we’re also planning to go and see some of the gorgeous castles am looking forward to it! Hope your plans for your big trip are coming along well – not too long now before you leave you must be getting very excited! 🙂

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  6. restlessjo says:

    Definitely looks like a good time had by all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was Jo! It was good to experience a traditional Oktoberfest albeit “Down Under”!:)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Looks like fun! My in-laws have been to Oktoberfest a few times and really enjoyed it, they have quite the collection of mugs! I would love to go sometime, perhaps when the boys are older!
    The model railway looks great, i’m desperate to take the boys to the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg – looks pretty impressive! X

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    1. Thanks Natalie it was good fun – on a much smaller scale than in Munich though! Definitely a trip when the boys are older though they’d love the miniature railway now – I haven’t heard of the one in Hamburg if it’s anything like the Rhein-Donau Club one the boys would have field day it was amazing! 🙂

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