My first experience with Oktoberfest was technically not the “real” Oktoberfest, as in the one in Munich that people travel to from all over the world each year. The one we went to in Stuttgart is actually called Cannstatter Volksfest, but it´s very similar to the one in Munich, just a bit smaller and with a more local/less touristy feel to it. It´s considered to be the 2nd largest beer festival in the world, even though it is not strictly a beer festival.
We went with the intention to only stay for a few hours, but ended up staying until around midnight because we were having so much fun. When we first got there it was surprisingly empty, but it was the first day, and it was Friday afternoon so a lot of people were probably still at work. We walked around taking in the sights and smells, it really is a lot like the North Carolina State Fair, except with less fried food (no fried candy bars or donut burgers insight). Instead there was an abbundance of delicious German food (roasted nuts, sausages, apple strudel, roast chicken, pork dishes) and of course a lot of cold beer. We peeked into several of the gigantic beer tents before grabbing a seat at one. We were there early enough that we got seats, which was good, those who came later in the evening probably had a rough time finding a spot unless they had a reservation.
We enjoyed our first beer while taking in the sites and the German music. All around us were people in dirndls and lederhosen, some looking more traditional than others. I really wanted to get a dirndl, but they can be pretty expensive (upwards of 100 Euros) and I didn´t want to drag Toby around while I tried on 20 of them, so we were both in regular clothes. We finished beer #1 and ordered a dish called Swabian pockets (Maultaschen), which were delicious. They are kind of a mix between a dumpling and ravioli, but larger. The rest of the night was spent singing along to a mixture of German drinking songs and American classics like “Summer of 69”. I met some really nice German girls, one of whom braided my hair (braids are very popular at Oktoberfest) and we wandered around the hall meeting people and making new friends.
Eventually it was time to head home, so after a pit stop at a food tent to grab a sausage we caught the train back to Toby´s parents house. Round 1 of the “Oktoberfest” was definitely a success! Round 2 commences tomorrow at the actual Oktoberfest in Munich! Should be an experience to say the least.