It’s not Oktoberfest without a dirndl, and although you might feel a tad silly primping in front of your mirror in one, you’d be glad you dressed up once you’ve arrived. The dirndl is a traditional Bavarian type of dress, originating as hardy maid’s dresses before being adopted as high fashion by the Austrian upper classes around 1870. In its transformation from a servant’s outfit to an aristocrat’s costume, the dirndl then underwent a drastic makeover and eventually evolved into the delicately crafted dress we know today. As mentioned above, women in Europe are never caught attending an Oktoberfest celebration without one, and the ladies of Brisbane attending the RNA showgrounds’ Bavarian-inspired Oktoberfest did not disappoint on the dress front. In fact, the entire event didn’t disappoint on any front; everything from the giant ‘Oktoberfest tent’ adorned in bunting to the warm, doughy pretzels exuded authenticity. The beer was served in hefty-looking plastic steins, and although personally, I didn’t particularly warm to the dark or wheat varieties, the lager was right on point in perfect German taste. Two large steins in, and feeling slightly tipsy, a German kransky hotdog started sounding like a pretty good idea, and boy, can I tell you it was. Having already downed a couple of carb-laden beverages, I decided that the diet was well and truly out the window, and opted for the cheese-stuffed kransky. And then a hot, peppery one. Followed by one of the aforementioned pretzels. Honestly, you would have done the same. The sausages are cooked over a wood-fired barbeque, meaning that each tasty little meat-tube was infused with a beautiful, dark smokiness which is nearly impossible to describe. Topped with traditional sauerkraut (how do they make cabbage taste so good?!) and lashings of mustard, these hotdogs were easily one of the best festival-feeds I’ve ever had. With your face stuffed full of hotdog and your belly full of beer, there was not better spot to pop your feet up than the ‘Munich Biergarten’. Stretching out from the Oktoberfest tent on all sides, this extended picnic area is sprinkled with cutesy fairy lights and dotted with old-fashioned picnic tables where families, friends and strangers sit side-by-side and chat. Of course, after this minor recovery, it’s time to kick up our heels (and dirndls) on the dancefloor. The band are appropriately loud and bouncy, as is the crowd by this time of night, and the rest of the festival is swallowed up in a sweaty, puffed-out bliss as we jive our boots off until midnight. 10/10 to Oktoberfest 2014 – may you be just as much of a heel-stomping, skirt-flying, laugh-inducing fabulous festival next year!
AUTHOR: Mel Keyte
IMAGES: courtesy of Mel Keyte