Oh, hallo! Hallo to the savory, mouth-watering aroma of roasted Schweinshaxe mingling with the über delicious, salty Steckerlfisch. Hallo to a tall, cold Maßkrug filled to the frothy brim with refreshing Hofbräu München. Hallo to the sounds of the oompah band playing Ein Prosit. Hallo to the carnival games for children and the dizzying Ferris wheel, all lit up against the night sky like fireworks.
Hallo and welcome to Oktoberfest! Starting September 20th and ending the first Sunday in October, the festival celebrates German culture and folk traditions. The delightful Bavarian people held the first annual Oktoberfest in Munich in 1810 in honor of Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese. Since then, the festival has grown in popularity and is now celebrated worldwide. This year, the Manatee County Library wants to show you just how wunderbar Oktoberfest can be by acquainting you will all things German.
Before you tap into that keg of Löwenbräu, tap into the rich history of the German people. In his book, "Germany: a Short History," Donald Detwiler provides a brief but thorough introduction to Germany from beginning to present. Peter Watson presents a more in-depth look with "The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, The Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century." For younger readers, try Kevin Davis' "Look What Came from Germany" and learn about the many inventions, customs, animals and fairy tales originating in Deutschland.
Sure, Oktoberfest is a great time to explore the vibrant and fascinating history of the German people, but will there be wiener schnitzel? Ja! There will be! And the library is the perfect place to go for a range of German cookbooks. If you're in the mood for Steckerlfisch, but don't know the first thing about getting your fisch on a steck, you can start with Jean Anderson and Hedy Wurz's "The New German Cookbook" or Helga Parnell's "Cooking the German Way." Explore Christine Metzger's "Culinaria: Germany" to learn about modern and traditional German dishes and take a look into the artistry of German cuisine. Once you finish chewing your food, you can start speaking like a local by brushing up on your German using Mango, the library's language instruction database.
No celebration would be complete without music. Pull up your lederhosen and hit the dance floor with "Oktoberfest in Germany," brought to you by a variety of German artists playing the culture's finest folk songs. For more traditional music, try "Toast to Germany." You can also take advantage of the library's new Freegal Music database to search for your favorite artists (including Germans!). Stream for three hours or download three DRM-free tracks daily.
If you're considering a trip to Munich to celebrate where it all started, stop by and check out the many travel guidebooks. The library also has DVDs to introduce you to the lush countryside and grand cities of Germany, including "Rick Steves' Europe: Germany, Benelux & More, Touring Great Festivals of Europe."
The library is also the place to be if you're looking to trace your German roots. Start with Ira Glazier and P. William Filby's "Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. ports." Or go to the library's website and login to America's GenealogyBank or Heritage Quest to aid you in your research. Whether you find German ancestors or not, during Oktoberfest, you'll find we're all at least a little German at heart.