It’s the world’s most famous beer festival! Each year, from mid to late September through the first weekend in October, more than six million visitors – dressed in lederhosen and dirndls – head to Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. Given that 5.6 million revelers come from outside the country, the fest leaves a huge carbon footprint in its wake. A sustainable Oktoberfest is possible, however, especially if you keep it local.
Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when the city of Munich came out to celebrate the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The festivities initiated in the gardens in front of the city gates and to this date, Oktoberfest is held in that same location, now called the Theresienwiese. Features of Oktoberfest include parades, carnival rides, live music, and of course – the main attraction – elaborate beer tents. Entrance is free but attractions, rides, beer and food are not.
If you’re staying close to home, you’ll likely find that a local brewery, German club or city parks service will have their own Oktoberfest celebration. But the best – and most sustainable – way to enjoy Oktoberfest is in your own backyard!
Put up a DIY beer tent on the lawn. Buy delicious brews from a local microbrewery. When you fire up the grill, make sure your wurstel (sausages) are organic and/or sourced locally. For a truly green event, source vegetarian sausages from a local specialty/organic market or prepare your own. You can also make your own brezels (soft pretzels) from scratch and buy a nice array of grainy, organic mustards to accompany them.
Repurposing is key to sustainability! A thrift store may not provide lederhosen (they’re expensive!), but you can grab an old stein for your lager and something in black, red, and yellow – representing Germany’s flag. Oompah music is a must, so download classic Bavarian songs like “Oompah Polka,” “Almdudler-Marsch” and “Tiroler Polka.” While you’re at it, learn to yodel along to “The Lonely Goatherd” (The Sound of Music will offer guidance!). Lastly, make sure to google “The Chicken Dance” and start clucking your way to an authentic, at-home, sustainable Oktoberfest.
And for all those less than eco-friendly “musts” for your Oktoberfest celebration, purchase personal carbon offsets from terrapass and make it a truly sustainable soiree. Terrapass carbon offsets are 25% OFF now thru October 31, 2017. Use promo code OCTOBER.
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