Bright green and white tents dot the Marketplatz in the heart of Fredericksburg, their bold, thick stripes announcing that Fredericksburg is celebrating and you are invited to join. The musical strains of a polka waft arounde the square, the sounds of heels tapping on the wooden stages under the tents tell you that this can be nothing other than Oktoberfest.
Brought from Germany by the original immigrants who settled in the Hill Country, Oktoberfest is a celebration that traces its origin back to the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese. The lighthearted Bavarians adopted the festivities as a timely celebration at the end of harvesting.Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg is for child and adult alike. Music plays from opening to closing and you can dance whenever you like. By day the square teems with children enjoying a hot dog on a stick, sliding on a super slide, or scaling a rock climbing wall. Their eyes glisten as they turn up their faces, painted to resemble creatures friendly and ferocious. By night the children are home and tucked into their beds, and it is time for moms and dads to celebrate. Many of the covered stages come alive with musical performers, while others fill with dancers. The women's skirts seem more fluid than ever as they whirl in their partner's arms to a waltz, or bend to a fast polka. Oktoberfest, arriving at the end of harvest season, is for eating as well as playing. Once offering only the German foods of the settlers, Fredericksburg has held tightly to its origins but moved with the times, and this is reflected in the foods that draw so many visitors to Oktoberfest. There are kraut dogs and wonderful German wursts which can be washed down by a choice of over 30 varieties of domestic and imported beer or lager in the beer garden. There are German pretzels and Opa's smoked sandwiches. But food is ever evolving. People move, bringing other influences with them and you may be drawn to a crawfish sausage or Mexican influenced fajitas and tacos.
Sponsored by the Pedernales Creative Arts Alliance, the funds raised at Oktoberfest go to student scholarships and to support local arts.