The best of Bavaria
Lively tunes, picture-perfect costumes, copious amounts of beer and authentic German food — this is exactly what visitors at the 12th edition of Oktoberfest, held recently at the Vivanta by Taj in association with the Indo-German Cultural Society, were treated to.
The occasion was set up like an exact replica of the beer-guzzling Bavarian annual festival: ranging from fresh-from-the-tap beer to salted pretzels and even a 21-member Bavarian band, flown specially down for the occasion.
Long tables — complete with the traditional blue-and-white chequered tablecloths — were set out, each sporting stands hung with pretzels, which traditionally are supposed to go well with beer.
Bangaloreans poured in in huge numbers, taking their seats and enjoying the lively atmosphere.
While several of them opted for simple attire, there were a few who actually dressed up in brightly-coloured Bavarian tunics, with white, puffy-sleeved blouses. The men were turned out in khaki shorts and suspenders.
The band — called Reisbacher Musikanten — has been performing at the festival ever since its inception and was familiar with what the crowd wanted. They stuck to lively Bavarian tunes and kept the performance staggered, so that the attendees had plenty of breaks to indulge in a little conversation as well.
Dressed in red, white and black, the vocalists kept the crowd entertained by swaying rhythmically to the music and occasionally bursting out into enthusiastic speeches — all in German, of course.
The food, which was set out in a separate hall, was a treat for the taste buds. In keeping with the authentic feeling of the entire occasion, the food was strictly from that part of the world. There was a live sausage stand, plenty of sauerkraut and potato salad.
Curtis, a Bangalore-based American who was present at the festival, says that it was an enjoyable occasion — and a fairly authentic one at that. “This is the first time I’ve come for an event like this. The dishes that are being served are really great. I’ve eaten German food — in the USA as well as in Germany — and it seems pretty true to tradition.
Altogether, I’m having a good time,” he smiles. Vinod Valson, the general manager of the hotel, admits that the idea behind the festival was to keep things as authentic as possible.
“Germans like their beer and music — and that is what we’ve replicated here. Although several similar festivals have been organised, this one is truly authentic — and we’re very happy with the kind of response we’re seeing,” he says.