Every year the Austrian Club in Calgary, under the competent management of my mutti, would throw a two-week Oktoberfest where they would import a real Austrian polka band from Austria (and one time from Südtirol.) There would be dinner and dancing, beer and bratwurst, schnapps and sauerkraut, and the staff would wear traditional garb. When I was a teenager I helped out at these events, along with a giggling knot of my friends from school. All this to say, I know a bit about Oktoberfest even if I had never been to the real one in Munich.
This year Mike and I threw an Oktoberfest party at our weekly Tuesday night comedy show. It was a lot of things, an excuse for me to wear my new dirndl, a friends and fans engagement party with pretzels, live accordion music, and beer, a birthday party, and a comedy show.
Here are the things we learned:
1 Oberkrainer music is the new gold standard for the Oktoberfest sound.
And Oberkrainer music was originally created by Slavko Avenik whose Wikipedia page has him “at the worldwide pinnacle of success among ethnic popular musicians.” That’s pretty impressive.
Can you believe you’ve never heard of this guy before?
“‘Schnaps’ Das war sein laetses word, dan truegen ihn die Englein fort”
(At the Austrian Club Oktoberfest so said the sign over the bar, along with a sleepy drunk guy being carried by cherubs. It means “‘Schapps!’ – That was his last word before the angels carried him away.” I didn’t know it was the verse to a drinking song!)
And speaking of drinking songs, I finally learned:
2 The second half of the “Ein Prosit” song!
The real life Austrian band would sing this a lot in a night. Every time I woud hear “Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, bla bla bla bla eit.” And then everybody would lock arms, sway, toast – ein prosit is a toast – and drink. I always wondered what the second half of that song was.
Turns out, it’s “der gemutlichkeit!” as in “Ein Prosit der gemutlichkeit” I love gemutlichkeit! It’s a word that doesn’t really translate into English, it’s a combination of good vibes, good company, and coziness. I was always curious about the rest of that song. Basically, it means a toast to good times. Prost!
3 You don’t have to buy that many pretzels guys,
We had just gotten back from Germany, where Mike popped the question in an apple orchard. When we were there we ate so many of those huge pretzels that are so delicious. Our good friend Peter Radomski was kind enough to pick up about thirty fresh baked pretzels from the German store by his house, and he also got us a Stollen as a special engagement treat!
But folks, you don’t need that many pretzels for a comedy show! It’ll only knock you back off the gluten-free wagon when you have to bring home a bunch of extra pretzels.
Photo by:Anton Bader via Flickr
4 You can’t do stand up with German telemark hiking poles in your hands.
When we were in Germany, Mike was shocked to see so many people walking around with telemark walking poles. The stereotype of the German tourist is true, they really do come in monotone khaki ensembles, reasonable shoes and walking poles.
Of course Mike had to have a pair, so we dragged those things back in an extra suitcase. Obviously for the Oktoberfest show the character of Micheal the Swiss tourist needs have telemark poles. Unfortunately, it turns out that one cannot hold a microphone and German walking poles simultaneously.
5 Zike zake zike zake – hoi hoi hoi!
Another Oktoberfest drinking song. Heck, I don’t know where it comes from, maybe it’s Austrian. All I know is that those Austrian oumpapa bands always did this call and response game before they made people drink. So first the prosit song, then they would yell “Zike Zake Zike Zake” and the crowd would respond “Hoi Hoi Hoi.” You do it a few times with escalating speed and intensity, and then you drink.
6 Monika’s rack looks awesome in a dirndl.
Oktoberfest should be every day, there is nothing more flattering to a good pair of tits than a traditional dirndl.
That’s not me.
7 Sauerkraut has need of meat.
The Green Phantom demonstrated his awesomeness by sending his good friend Joey Fitzmorris to our party. He brought Sauerkraut! I love sauerkraut, it’s absolutely delicious but you do need bratwurst or pig knuckles to enjoy it alongside of. We had to take the sauerkraut home to enjoy on another occasion.
8 Carla can whip up quite the Oktoberfest outfit in a mere 45 minutes.
I should have planned better. This does not bode well for wedding planning. We had our big Oktoberfest party right after Canadian Thanksgiving so everyone was tired and full of turkey. What with the craziness of the weekend Carla, the official Stand Up Tuesdays waitress, only had 45 minutes to prepare her costume for Oktoberfest and she still came up with a show-stopping lederhosen number that looked super hot. Meanwhile, Stephanie Jones, bartender and DJ downstairs at Jimbo’s, managed to make Oktoberfest wear look cool. How is that even possible?
9 I really miss the Dan – D – Lyons
I “learn” this every couple of months when Mike and Tim get together and sing the old hits, but it’s especially special when they write something new together. For Oktoberfest the Dan D Lyons were back with a brand new number, hastily completed while I was getting into my dirdl, and it was hilarious!
“Oktoberfest, It’s the best time of year,
We’ll eat a lot of sausages and drink a lot of beer
Oktoberfest, we’ll celebrate the harvest
With the famous precision of Germans.”
10 We’re doing it again next year.
What a great night! I’m so grateful to everyone who made it so special, from lederhosen to sauerkraut! See you next year! G’suffa!