The 180th Munich Oktoberfest begins in Germany Saturday and continues through Oct. 6.
While Lake Tahoe can’t match the scale of the German city’s massive party, Oktoberfest festivities around the lake will do plenty to celebrate delicious German food and beer during the same 16-day period as the Munich festival.
Oktoberfest events start this week at the South Shore with celebrations at Himmel Haus and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. The North Shore gets into the act in late September and early October with events at Squaw Valley and Tahoe City. Camp Richardson, at the South Shore, closes down the lake’s Oktoberfest celebrations with its annual event Oct. 5-6.
Before becoming annual events celebrated throughout the U.S. Oktoberfest originated with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony on Oct. 12, 1810, according to the city of Munich’s website.
“Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria,” according to the site. “The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.
“In the first few decades the choice of amusements was sparse,” the website continues. “The first carousel and two swings were set up in 1818. Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries.
“The remainder of the festival site was taken up by a fun-fair. The range of carousels etc. on offer was already increasing rapidly in the 1870s as the fairground trade continued to grow and develop in Germany.”
Today, the German festival attracts about 6 million visitors from around the world, according to the site.
Events at Lake Tahoe include ample amounts of German beer, bratwurst-eating contests, keg-rolling and stein-holding competitions and live music.
The events will also include a traditional sense of fashion.
Wearing lederhosen or a traditional dirndl dress is rewarded at several of Tahoe’s Oktoberfest events.