3 Great Ways to Celebrate Oktoberfest for Remote Teams
Oktoberfest is a traditional Bavarian beer festival that is celebrated around the world. Here are some ways to bring the fun of Oktoberfest to your remote team.
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Summer is wrapping up, fall is right around the corner and as a team planner you find yourself in a similar (and unenviable) position: you have to fill the gap between summer vacations and the holiday season for your team.
Fortunately, there is a globally celebrated festival that happens every fall that can bring some unexpected spice (and not the pumpkin spice kind) to your office. If your team hasn’t celebrated Oktoberfest yet, this might be the year to make the jump and celebrate one of Germany’s most endearing cultural exports.
Oktoberfest can be the perfect remote work celebration for your team for many reasons. The annual festival is inherently fun and celebrations encourage attendees to let loose and enjoy themselves, from wearing colorful clothes to dancing to polka music. Oktoberfest is even celebrated with simple festival games and, of course, delicious and traditional Bavarian food.
In this blog we’ll outline what Oktoberfest is and why the internationally-celebrated festival presents an excellent opportunity for workplace events—particularly for hybrid and remote teams.
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is held every year in Bavaria, the largest and southernmost state of Germany. Specifically, the festival takes place in Munich—the capital and largest city of Bavaria.
Fittingly, Oktoberfest is a massive celebration of Bavarian culture. For more than 200 years, the annual festival has presented a way for Bavarians and international travelers to gather together and drink premium German beer, eat fantastic German food and dance to German music.
Believe it or not, the origins of the festival date all the way back to the early 19th Century. In the year 1810, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend festivities celebrating the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
To celebrate the royal marriage, elaborate processions and horse races were staged on festival fields just outside of Munich. Throughout the celebrations, tastings of local beer and wine were held. The fields on which these celebrations took place are still called Theresienwiese (Theresa’s Meadow) in commemoration of the royal bride.
The festivities quickly became an annual celebration for the citizens of Munich. One year later in 1811, an agricultural show was held, and in 1818 carnival booths were added. But it wasn’t for another 80 years that the most iconic parts of Oktoberfest were included in the festivities—bratwurst and massive glass steins full of traditional German beer.
Today, it is a massive event that is celebrated across the world. About 6 million people attend Oktoberfest in Munich every year. Outside of Germany, the largest events are in Ontario, Canada, where 700,000 attendees visit every year. In the United States, Denver, Colorado, holds the largest Oktoberfest with more than 450,000 visitors every year.
Oktoberfest has transformed into an iconic celebration of Bavarian beer, German food, fair rides and parades. Attendees gather under massive carnival tents to drink, eat and soak in the Oktoberfest atmosphere. There are dozens of these tents inside and outside of the Theresienwiese fairgrounds, and the largest tents can house up to 8,000 people.
When is Oktoberfest? The Volksfest (German for ‘people’s festival’) is held annually in September. Festivities last several weeks and often run in October.
Virtual Oktoberfest Ideas
Hosting an Oktoberfest celebration is a great way to get your group together for a fun and unique Fall event. Who doesn’t love a good excuse to enjoy the company of your friends and coworkers over a large stein of beer, warm pretzels and fun polka music?
The festival also presents an opportunity to celebrate German heritage; approximately 13% of the U.S. population claims partial German ancestry.
Here are a few ideas on how you can incorporate Oktoberfest into your fall events as an organization this year.
Oktoberfest Happy Hour
Oktoberfest really lends itself to group events. There are few things more fun than putting on a Bavarian cap or some lederhosen and gathering for a good time with Oktoberfest beer.
If you’re a party or entertainment planner for a remote team, you’re always looking for ways to elevate Zoom gatherings. An Oktoberfest happy hour is a great way to do exactly that.
Give your next virtual happy hour some Oktoberfest flair by providing Bavarian snacks like pretzels. Get guests into the German spirit by playing traditional Bavarian polka music. Believe it or not, the famous Chicken Dance is performed at American Oktoberfest celebrations every year accompanied by lively polka music.
There are even fun Oktoberfest festival games that your group can enjoy over a virtual happy hour. The most famous festival game is a contest called Masskrugstemmen that literally translates to “beer stein holding”. During this game, contestants must hold up a one-liter stein filled with beer for as long as they can. Whoever holds their outstretched arms the longest wins—simple as that! This is a great game to play with your group over an Oktoberfest happy hour.
Virtual Beer Tastings
Every year, microbreweries across the U.S. prepare for Oktoberfest by releasing special “fest biers”, which are beer styles that have been traditionally brewed for Oktoberfest. You can even find imported bottles of German beer made for Oktoberfest every year.
There are a half-dozen German breweries that brew the official Oktoberfest beer, and some can be found stateside. Those breweries are Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu and Staatliches Hofbräu-München.
Hosting a virtual beer tasting to celebrate Oktoberfest is a great way to sip your way through the history of the German festival. Similar to wine tastings, virtual beer tastings bring a microbrewery craft beer flight experience home to the guest. Through an online beer tasting event, your guests get to sip and sample their way through different beers that are typically selected by a professional beer guide.
The aforementioned breweries have been making beer for centuries, and a professional beer expert can help you navigate the incredible history of these drinks during a virtual beer tasting. With the help of a beer guide, you and your guests will learn the intricacies of Oktoberfest beers and learn how they are different from other European-style lagers.
Beer guides for virtual beer tastings excel at passing down their deep knowledge of beer tasting basics to virtual guests, turning any virtual Oktoberfest event into a hit.
A particularly attractive aspect of virtual beer tastings is that the logistics of hosting the virtual event can be taken care of for you. Online entertainment companies like Unboxed Experiences will take care of the shipping logistics and planning process for you, so your guests get everything delivered straight to their door.
If there’s one thing that is celebrated as much as beer at Oktoberfests across the world, it is pretzels. Bavarian pretzels are famous for their size and unique color. They are typically enjoyed with mustard or a traditional German beer cheese called obatzda.
Pretzels present another great way to celebrate Oktoberfest, and if you’re trying to organize something for your virtual office then look no further than the hit sitcom The Office. In a now-famous scene, characters in The Office rush to grab a free pretzel during Pretzel Day.
Order up some delicious Bavarian pretzels for your group and get together for a Pretzel Day of your own. Here’s a pro-tip: nothing goes better with pretzels than German beer. Get some beer delivered to your group and pair it with a virtual beer tasting for a truly remarkable event.
Book an Oktoberfest Experience
If you would like to throw an Oktoberfest virtual event for your group, Unboxed Experiences offers the Oktoberfest Experience. Our special virtual beer tasting takes your guests on a guided tour of Oktoberfest’s festival grounds, complete with German snacks, beer history and even specially brewed Oktoberfest beers made just for us.
We’ll take care of the planning and shipping for you, so you just have to sit back and enjoy Oktoberfest right from the comforts of home! You can even customize your Oktoberfest Experience with branded beer steins, personalized note cards and more. Reach out to the Virtual Event Planners at Unboxed Experiences today and get your passport ready for a one-of-a-kind virtual Oktoberfest celebration!