Backyard Oktoberfest's 6th Annual Party

Food:
Pretzels
Obatzda
Beer Cheese Dip
Grilled Bratwurst
Grilled Thüringer
Sauerkraut
Red Cabbage
Käsespätzel
German Potato Salad
Boiled Red Potatoes
Oktoberfest Cookies
Bavarian Roasted Nuts
Drinks:
Spaten Oktoberfest
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest
Paulater Oktoberfest Märzen
Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn
German Red and White Wine
Soft Drinks
Entertainment:
We had a balloon popping game like you see at the carnival. Prizes were awarded to those who could pop two balloons with two darts

The biggest entertainment of the night was the Chicago Cubs vs L.A. Dodgers Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Cubs won 8-4. We set up a TV outside to allow our guests to enjoy the game along with Oktoberfest.

2016 Munich Oktoberfest

Have you ever wondered what it is like to experience the Wiesn? Now you can! Please enjoy the pictures and video from our trip to the 2016 Munich Oktoberfest. 

Bayerischer Defiliermarsch - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Full Ein Prosit - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Amsterdam - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

1000 Träume weit - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Country Roads - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Happy - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Major Tom (Völlig losgelöst) - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summer of '69 - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

I'm a Believer - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

YMCA - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

New York, New York - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Surfin' USA - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Über den Wolken - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Que Sera Sera - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ferris Wheel at Oktoberfest 2016 on Saturday, September 17, 2016.

Unknown Oktoberfest Song #7 - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Irgendwie Irgendwo Irgendwann - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tagen wie diese - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Nosa Nosa - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eine neue Liebe ist wie ein neues Leben - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Amarillo - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hulapalu - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hey Baby - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

I Will Survive - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Seven Nation Army - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Teenage Dirtbag - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

I Love Rock 'n Roll - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sweet Caroline - Paulaner Festzelt - Winzerer Fähndl - Oktoberfest 2016 - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oktoberfest Review - 2016 Glendale Heights Oktoberfest

2016 Glendale Heights Oktoberfest

September 15 - 25, 2016
101 East Fullerton Avenue, Glendale Heights, Illinois, United States Admission: $5

Overall: 98%
Authenticity:
Beer:
Food:
Entertainment:
Accessibility:

Food:
  • Giant Pork Shank
  • Half Spit Roasted Chicken
  • Schnitzel Sandwich with Grilled Onions on a German roll with potato salad
  • German Burger
  • German Bratwurst or Currywurst
  • Footlong Frankfurter on a German roll with mustard
  • Fried Sauerkraut Balls with Honey Mustard
  • Large Hot Pretzel with Mustard
  • Goulash Soup with Roll
  • Homemade Bread Dumpling with Gravy
  • Homemade German Potato Salad
  • Homemade Bavarian Red Cabbage
  • Homemade Sauerkraut
Kids Menu:
  • Hamburger or Cheeseburger
  • Hot dog
  • Chicken Fingers
Beer:
  • Hofbräu Oktoberfest
  • Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss
  • Schofferfoffer Hefe Weiss
Alcohol:
  • Schonauer Apfel Shots
  • Barenjager Honey & Bourbon Shots
Wine:
  • Premium German Red
  • Premium German White
Other:
  • Possman's Apple Cider
  • Berghoff Draft Root Beer
  • Soda
  • Bottled Water

Entertainment:
  • Alpine Thunder
  • Paloma
  • Euro Express
  • Talisman Band
  • The Mike Schneider Band
  • Tempo (Ed Schaefer Band)
  • The Amazing Mike
  • The Elmhurst College Jazz Band
  • The Illinois Brass Band
  • Strong Arm Contest


View Larger Map

Mr. Oktoberfest and I fly out to Munich tomorrow to begin our honeymoon, so how did we spend the night? Did we do laundry? Did we pack? Did we spend time with our mothers? No. We spent the evening with our friends from the Schnitzel Platz at the fifth annual Glendale Heights Oktoberfest! It’s no secret that the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is our favorite local ‘fest, so when we found out that it opened the day before we leave for our trip, the decision was made.

When we rolled into Camera Park, we were delighted to find that the parking lot was already packed. We slid the car into the easily accessible overflow parking area and geared up for an excellent night of German fun. We couldn’t wait to get inside. Admission for the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is $5 for adults after 4 p.m., and free for humans 16-years-old and under. Either way, it’s a bargain. Once you add in free parking, it’s practically a steal.

As much as we love Alpine Thunder, who were already playing as we entered the tent, the real star of the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is the food. Normally, when we enter the ‘fest grounds, all I want is to get my hands on a Bier. Tonight, however, my thoughts played to the tune of the old Chicken Tonight jingle: “I feel like schnitzel tonight, like schnitzel tonight.” Once we approached the food station, we ended up with much more. Don’t get me wrong, the schnitzel sandwich with grilled onions and potato salad ($8) is a quality choice. I may or may not have dreams about it tonight. But the stellar sides at the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest deserve some attention, too. Disclaimer: I don’t like sauerkraut. I never order it. I normally wouldn’t touch it. I don’t even eat it when we serve it at our own Backyard Oktoberfest. But when we’re talking about Chef Wolfgang’s fried sauerkraut balls ($8), I literally cannot get enough. They pair perfectly with the Oktoberfest Bier, as well. Even now as I write this, stuffed with schnitzel, potato salad, bread dumpling with gravy ($5), and pretzels ($6), I want more.

We often tell our friends that the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is one of the most authentic around. I have not yet been to Oktoberfest in Munich, so I cannot personally attest to that yet. But I do know that when I’m there this weekend, I will miss our friends in Glendale Heights and crave the schnitzel and other German delicacies they do so well.

The Glendale Heights Oktoberfest is open through September 25. You should go. And have some sauerkraut balls for me.



Reviewed By: Jessica Rzepka

Oktoberfest Review - 2016 Oktoberfest in August

2016 Oktoberfest in August

August 19 - 21, 2016
Schwaben Verein, 301 N. Weiland Road, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, United States Admission: $10

Overall: 80%
Authenticity:
Beer:
Food:
Entertainment:
Accessibility:

Food:
  • Leberkaese Dinner
  • Bratwurst or Thueringer Dinner
  • Leverkaese Sandwich
  • Bratwurst Sandwich
  • Thueringer Sandwich
  • Weisswurst with Pretzel
  • Bismarck Herring on a Bun
  • Landjaeger Pair
  • Sauerkraut
  • Potato Salad
  • Pretzel
  • Hog Dog on a Bun
  • Cake
  • Coffee
Beer:
  • Hofbräuhaus München
  • Dunnkel
  • Miller Lite
Wine:
  • White
  • Red

Entertainment:
  • Chef Dan and the Appetizers
  • Amazing Mike, One Man Band
  • Alte Kameraden
  • Phenix
  • German Dancers


View Larger Map

For those of you who don’t know, something extra special is happening this Oktoberfest season. Backyard Oktoberfest’s own Scott and Jessica will be getting married. After we tie the knot this September, we’re heading over to Europe to experience all the wonders of Munich’s 216th Oktoberfest - and maybe check out Dublin’s Oktoberfest while we’re in the neighborhood. Our wedding and subsequent travels will be an exciting time for us, but unfortunately it means that we’re going to miss out on some of our favorite local Oktoberfest events this year. Thankfully, we were still able to honor our long-held tradition of starting the season with Schwaben Verein’s Oktoberfest in August.

Last Saturday, we popped over to the Schwaben Center in Buffalo Grove for some traditional German fare. By the time we crossed the street from the free parking lot and paid our $10 apiece entry fee, Oktoberfest in August was already in full swing. It was a beautiful, cool evening, and local German-Americans and German-Aficionados alike were crowded into the large tent enjoying the music from the Freistadt Alta Kameraden Band. We grabbed some food and beer and got ready to get our oompah on.

As has been the case for the past few years, our feelings about the food and beverage selections available at Oktoberfest in August are mixed. We’re big fans of the beer. Anytime we can get a pitcher of Hofbräuhaus München for $14, we’re pretty happy about it. We were also excited to see Dunkel on tap. Even though we never actually got around to ordering any, we were glad to see another German beer option that you can’t find at your local sports pub. Other beverages offerings included Miller Lite, Jagermeister, both red and white wines, and of course water and soft drinks. As usual, we stuck to the Hofbräuhaus München, and we were not disappointed.

We were less thrilled by our food choices, however. We do not come into Oktoberfest in August with high hopes for culinary greatness. That’s not the goal of this event. But we have to report that the food we ordered this year was just okay. To be fair, the nature of the outdoor event space at the Schwaben Center makes food preparation tricky and keeping food warm difficult - especially on a cool night that felt more like autumn than the height of summer. Unfortunately this meant that our pretzels ($2) and Thueringer sandwiches ($7) were cold. We ate them anyway, but the temperature did not help the already bland sausage and dry bun. Mustard helped, but not much. Still, as we snacked on Landjaeger ($3) and apple cake ($4), we had to admit that we were satisfied and ready for some dancing.

The Freistadt Alta Kameraden Band kept the crowd engaged and entertained during their long sets. Not one, but two snake dances broke out in the couple of hours we watched them perform. They also provided accompaniment for a group of German dancers, which is always fun to watch. A shoutout must be given for the other entertainment of the evening, as well. RCJuggle was positioned right outside the tent and spent the evening making some of the most elaborate balloon sculptures we’ve ever seen. As most of the revelers kept their eyes on the band, we watched their children walking around with light-up balloon aliens, various weaponry, intricate hats, and lifelike animals, including one very impressive giant squid. They even helped one young girl live out her dream of wearing Iron Man’s suit, made entirely out of balloons. (Aside: It was crazy, and I want one.)

Above all, our favorite thing about this event is the community feel. None of our friends could attend the event with us this year, but it didn’t matter because everyone is friends at Oktoberfest in August. From the friendly vendors to the enthusiastic crowd, the interactions between people of all ages makes this feels like a block party. In fact, this year, that community spirit led to a surprise encounter for us. As we stood off to the side of the tent, simultaneously watching the band and the balloon artist, we heard, “Hey, aren’t you Backyard Oktoberfest?” Indeed, we are, so we said hello and ended up having a nice chat with a man who is set to host his own backyard Oktoberfest this year. It was a highlight of our night. So, if you spot us at your local Oktoberfest, don’t be shy. Come and say hello. That’s one of the best things about Oktoberfest. Even if you go in by yourself, you leave with new friends and great memories.

Thanks for the new memories, Oktoberfest in August. We’ll see you next year.


Reviewed By: Jessica Jones

Oktoberfest Wreath

Oktoberfest Wreath (≈6’ 4” diameter, ≈20' circumference)

  • 24 pieces of 12” x 1.5” x .75” wood - $10
  • 24 - .25” x 2.5” bolts - $5
  • 24 - .25” nuts - $2
  • 48 washers - $3
  • 4 screw hooks - $5
  • 4 - 6' pieces of 4” semi-rigid dryer vent - $50
  • ≈270’ of 3” wide Garland (30 – 9’ long strands) - $70
  • 2 - 12’ long gold chains (loop size is up to you) - $20
  • 20’ big bulb light strand (preferably with an even number of lights) - $15
  • Ribbon - $20
  • Duct Tape - $5
  • Total ≈$205

Tools needed:

  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Pencil
  • Protractor
  • Two wrenches the size of your nut and bolt
  • Tape measure 
  • Ruler or straight edge

1. Cut wood into 12" x 1.5" pieces. You will need 24 of these. I purchased two 6' x 3' boards, cut them in half lengthwise and then cut them into the correct sizes.

2. Draw a line down the center of each piece lengthwise (red line). Measure and drill a hole 1" away from the edge of each piece. This will need to be done for all 24 boards.(Figure 1)

Figure 1

Figure 1

3. Using a protractor, measure an outside angle of 165 degrees using your drill hole as your origin point and the red center line as your baseline. Mark that point on your board; then using a straight edge, draw your blue line from the point to the drill hole. (Figure 2)

Figure 2

Figure 2

4. Once your blue line is drawn, draw a parallel line 1.5" under your blue line creating the yellow line. This markings will need to be done to 12 boards.(Figure 3)

Figure 3

Figure 3

5. Once you have those 12 boards marked like Figure 3, place a board with only drill holes on top of your marked board lining up the drill holes. Slip a washer on your bolt then slide the bolt through both boards. Once the bolt is through, place a washer on the end of the bolt then screw the nut on to the bolt until is is somewhat tight. Once the board it somewhat tight you may want to make a mark like the green line to make it easier to line them up later. (Figure 4)

Figure 4

Figure 4

6. Continue connecting your boards with marked boards on the bottom and unmarked boards on the top. Once they are all connected you can fold them on top of each other like an accordion for easy storage and transport. Disregard the numbering of the boards until later. (Figure 5)

Figure 5

Figure 5

7. When you are ready to set up your wreath, take your accordion of boards and start to spread them out. Line up your marks then securely tighten your bolt with a wrench and socket wrench. While the connections will seem tight, they can still be moved accidentally with enough force applied to them. Connect all boards to form your circle. This is now where you should number your boards. (Figure 6). 

Figure 6

Figure 6

finished wreath

finished wreath


8. Once your circle is formed you will need to screw in hooks into the top boards at each 3:00 position. My boards happened to be numbers 5, 11, 17, 23. You can see the hooks in Figure 5. 

9. Next, unscrew one connection to break your circle. This will allow you to slip the dryer vent on to your wreath. This part is easiest done on the ground or on a table big enough to hold your wreath. I purchased 4 sections of dryer vent and extended each section to cover one quarter of the wreath. 

10. Once all of the dryer vents are on, reconnect your board. I now suggest raising your wreath up with chains. When I set my wreath up in my tent I connect it directly to the tent to do the final steps. Raising the wreath will make it easier to finish the last steps, especially if you are attaching lights to the bottom of your wreath. 

11. Once your wreath is raised, connect your dryer vents to each other with duct tape. The connections do not need to be perfect but just enough to keep the vents connected. If you are using lights on the bottom of your wreath, start from a hook section and tape the beginning of your light strand under the hook to the dryer vent allowing the plug in connection to be at the hook. 

12. Now comes the tedious part, start wrapping garland around your wreath. If you are using lights, make sure to wrap the garland around the wiring. The garland will hold your lights in place. When you reach the end of a strand, tuck it under itself to hold it in place. Start the new strand where you left off and tuck the new strand under the previous strand to hold it in place. I did not use any tape to hold the garland on the wreath.(Figure 7)

figure 7

figure 7

13. Keep wrapping the garland around the wreath until you are finished. (Figure 8)

figure 8

figure 8

14. If you so desire, wrap ribbons around your wreath. The wreath in this example had 24 lights underneath so I alternated blue and white ribbons around the wreath placing the ribbon in the middle between the lights. (Figure 9)

figure 9

figure 9