home d.tech life, Features, Travel Attending Oktoberfest as a Teen

Attending Oktoberfest as a Teen

Julia Reid | jreid19@dtechhs.org | October 9, 2018

As I stepped within the festival walls I was greeted instantly with a cacophony of sound: A band playing traditional music, the clinking of glasses, and laughter shared among friends. It was an almost blinding transition from the tranquil streets of Redwood City to the lively festival blocked off from the rest of the world.

Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a large festival held in Munich, Germany, which cemented itself in German culture as an autumn festival of sorts. The main attractions are beer, music, and socializing. The Oktoberfest held in Redwood City is not so different other than the fact that it is much smaller.

When you walk in, you are first greeted by the people checking tickets and, consequently, IDs. If you only bought a non-drinker ticket like me, the latter step is skipped and they immediately hand you a beer stein with a ticket for half a liter of any beer. Unfortunately, the only option for non-drinkers is root beer.

If you are looking to buy food or more drinks, you have to buy some tickets, which cost $2.75 each. This seems very cheap, but when you consider that the cheapest food item you can get is three tickets, the cost adds up quick.

Rather miffed about my loss of $8.25 for a pretzel, I soon withdrew my annoyance when I saw that the pretzel quite literally could not fit on the plate it was served on, and could easily have been shared between two, or even three, friends. The only complaint I have about food service is that they seemed to have very little care for your preferences, and the pretzel I was served was resting in a glob of mustard that I neither asked for nor wanted. I was inclined to overlook this, however, when I realized they were serving hundreds of people that night.

Once I was finished overindulging myself, I walked around the venue talking to some of the other patrons. Most said they came for the beer, and a few even said they came last minute because they worked down the street. Despite their different reasons for coming,  they all seemed to enjoy being part of the gaiety while surrounded by close friends. Even the event staff I talked to seemed to be enjoying themselves, watching everyone else participate. One person in particular took great pride in setting up the venue, and smiled when talking about the popularity of the event.  

Despite the noise, the event held a sort of warmth and serenity and as I left I felt a contedness with the way I had spent my evening surrounded by the happiness of others. I felt that the alcohol that everyone used as their reason for coming was simply a device for them to have fun with those they love. Even as a teenager who can’t drink alcohol, being surrounded by an atmosphere of happiness, good -albeit expensive- food, and festivities saturated with tradition is well worth the time and money.

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