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Oktoberfest NOLA: Chicken dance on dah bayou returns

The Deutsches Haus chicken joins the chicken dance. (Deutsches Haus photo)

By Kristine Froeba, Mid-City Messenger

Three weekends of Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest start tonight (Oct. 7). The following Fridays and Saturdays in October mark the yearly opportunity for locals to indulge in Bavarian feasts, giant pretzels, a Schnauzer Parade, chicken dances, the Oktoberfest Walk/Run, an appearance by the 610 Stompers and a multitude of oompah bands.

Their website states the Deutsches Haus’ mission is “to foster the rich culture, musical heritage, language, and history of the German people.” Foster and celebrate they do. Oktoberfest is a local riot. This year, it’s held over three October weekends on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Masskrugstemmen at Oktoberfest (Deutsches Haus photo)

Family fun, music, food, and German culture mix

Masskrugstemmen – beer-stein-holding contests are held several times a day. Dirndls, lederhosen, Alpine hats and floral hair wreaths are encouraged. If you own it, wear it. Also, the chicken dance is mandatory. 

The music is German and cheerful; it’s oompah music, of course. Actually, there are seven German bands booked, and the music never stops for long. The Brats close the event each evening. You might even hear and see The Bayou Bavarians in lederhosen – yes, they exist.

Bavarian roots are strong in New Orleans; my family hails from the tiny village of Buchbach, and all there share my surname. My great-grandmother brewed her own beer in St. Roch, another German community prohibition ignored. This same generation founded the Deutsche Gesellschaft von New Orleans in 1848. Today, that organization has morphed into the New Orleans Deutsche Haus. 

Deutsches Haus’ Oktoberfest German feast of schnitzel, sausages, German potato salad, sauerkraut and red cabbage (Kristine Froeba photo)

The Feast: Bratwursts, Weiner Schnitzel, Apple Strudel

The food at Oktoberfest is excellently prepared, authentic and plentiful. Massive plates of hearty entrées, sausages, two German sides and rye bread are enough to share. Jagerschnitzel, Kassler RipChen with Apple Walnut Sauce, German Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy and Sauerbraten are offered on different nights. You can expect to find German Potato Salad, Mashed Potatoes, Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

Everything is available a la carte, and there is also a three-sausage plate of bratwurst, weisswurst, knackwurst or whichever combination you prefer. German mustards are always on hand. 

“We’ve added a new spicy Hungarian sausage called Feuerwurst this year,” said Brian Huber, president of Deutsches Haus. “That and doner kabobs — a now common German street food.” 

Oktoberfest revelers Serena Seekie Spencer, Heather Threft and Kenydra Hansen heft German beers in celebration of the 90th anniversary of New Orleans Deutsches Haus. (Kristine Froeba photo)

Oodles of food stands

The St. James Cheese Company will be selling an assortment of German cheeses. There is a sausage stand, a pretzel stand, a German wine stand and of course, dessert booths selling oodles of flaky Apple Strudel and German Chocolate Cake.

Also, you can find an intriguing German white pizza called Flammkuchen, a Frickadellen plate (hamburger steak with gravy and fries), Indian inspired Currywurst, bratwurst sandwiches on pretzel buns, kielbasa on a stick and the ubiquitous chicken nuggets for tiny non-gastronomes.

More than 20 German beers are on tap at Deutsches Haus’ Oktoberfest. (Deutsches Haus photo)

German Beers on Tap 

The tap variety is plentiful. Märzen, Hefe-Weissen, Dunkelweizen, Schwarzbier and more are on tap. Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Köstritzer, Hofbräu and Paulaner are well represented. 

You’ll also find your favorite brews from our local craft breweries, including some brewed especially for Oktoberfest.

(Kristine Froeba photo)

Deutsches Haus Oktoberfest
1700 Moss St.

October 7-8, 14-15, 21-22
Fridays: 4-11 p.m., Saturdays: 1-11 p.m.

Admission is $10 at the gate (cash)
Free for children 11 years and younger

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