By Allie Zaleski
On Saturday, the German Club hosted the annual Roanoke College Oktoberfest in Sutton Commons. The evening was full of dancing, drinks, music, and food, offering a sampling of the rich culture and history of Germany.
Mrs. Stefanie Fowler, one of Roanoke’s German Lecturers, said, “The Oktoberfest began in 1810 as a wedding celebration for Crown Prinz Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Teresa.” According to Fowler, the celebration is still held in Bavaria in a large field that the Crown Prinz gave to his new bride, and lasts for two weeks, starting 16 days before the first Sunday in October.
The event was planned mainly by students, who decided on the food, decorations, and location, with assistance from the Common’s staff as well as Dr. Joseph Blaha and his wind ensemble students. The band performed many traditional German songs, many of which were classified as “Oompah music”, which is a traditional part of Oktoberfest. The songs ranged from the Chicken Dance, to traditional polkas and waltzes. The guests at the event were invited to join with the band and dance to the music, and many people enjoyed the opportunity to dance away the evening.
The dinner included Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, spicy German mustard, warm German potato salad, and green beans. A “Make Your Own” version of Black Forest Cake was served with brownies, cherries, and whipped cream.
Fowler said, “These foods would traditionally be a part of a southern German meal.” There was also a selection of traditional German beers available at the cash bar to those with an ID.
Several traditional group dances were taught, with many complicated twists and turns. All of the dances required walking while changing partners, twirling around, and creating intricate patterns with each partner’s arms. Many of the dances were set to a fast tempo, and trying to keep up with all of the intricate movements and maneuvers proved difficult to accomplish, but as everyone fell into step, the merriment ran high.
Traditional Oktoberfest dress was an optional part of the evening, and according to Fowler, “The traditional costume for men is the Lederhosen, or leather pants…[while] the women wear a Drindl, or a form-fitting dress with a white blouse and an apron.” Several guests arrived in costume, adding to the jovial spirit of the evening.
Oktoberfest was a sampling of German culture as well as an opportunity to dance and enjoy a lovely evening with friends and family, and is an RC tradition that is not to be missed.