For such a small town, the Bubble has a buzzing and remarkably diverse social calendar. As St Andrews students we’re incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to attend some incredibly unique and professionally executed events, and Oktoberfest is certainly no exception.
Now in its tenth year, the Saint Andrews Charity Oktoberfest is bringing back the famous Bavarian festival, which in case you were wondering, was founded in 1810. In the years since its inception, Oktoberfest has made a name for itself as one of St Andrews most extraordinary events, drawing approximately a thousand guests from St Andrews and beyond. In fact this year, the international ticket sales closed in a record ten minutes. If that’s any indication, Oktoberfest 2015 is clearly a highly-anticipated day.
We sat down with Stella Schmadl, who gave us an idea of what to expect this year. The day begins at 2pm, with buses leaving for Kinkell from outside Sallies starting at 1:30. I’m particularly excited about the prospect of a day-drinking event; enjoying a nice beer (or two… or three) with friends on a sunny afternoon sounds far more appealing to me than scurrying from one heat source to the next in the dark. Keep your fingers crossed for sun! The fun officially ends at 10, but buses will leave every hour and drop guests off on South Street. “Especially with events held at Kinkell, it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck there,” Stella explains. But considering what this year’s Oktoberfest has in store, I don’t think anyone will mind.
Not only will there be a live German band to keep crowds dancing away, there will also be pretzels, roasted almonds, and a selection of delicious and authentic German food. And obviously no Oktoberfest would be complete without beer. Lots and lots of beer. This year it’s being supplied by Paulaner, one of the sponsors. (Other sponsors include St Andrews Shuttle, The Scores Hotel and Event Bars St Andrews.) Quick tip: just make sure you don’t overload on pretzels and beer before you take a ride on La Bamba.
The proceeds from the day will be donated to Oktoberfest’s chosen charity, Tayside Children with Cancer and Lukaemia. Since its beginnings in 2006, the event has raised 75,000 for TCCL. Stella says that building a relationship with the organization and seeing the effects of their collaborative efforts has easily been the most rewarding part of working with Oktoberfest. Currently they are working on developing the TCCL lodge, a holiday house for patients and their families. Together they hope to build and improve “a home from home: a place where families can go to make memories together, a place where children can be children and a place where laughter fills the rooms.” If the music, food, and general atmosphere weren’t enough to draw you in, the fact that the proceeds go to such a worthy cause certainly is.
Another thing to note is that although sporting traditional German or Bavarian garb will help you get in the spirit, Stella insists that it’s definitely not mandatory: “You certainly don’t have to wear a dirndl or lederhosen. It might help you to in the zone- and you can find them online, so have a look on Amazon! But you can always wear a pair of shorts and a checkered shirt, put your hair in some cute braids, and you’ll be good to go.” Stella suggests that partygoers hit up the charity shops before this weekend if they’re struggling find an appropriate getup. There are always some hidden secondhand gems!
Another insider tip from the committee is not to pre-drink. I can hear your laughter already, but in all seriousness, there will be more than enough fine German beer waiting at Kinkell. And as Stella points out, the money from that beer will go to TCCL. In the spirit of charity (and for the sake of your liver) wait till you get there! Oktoberfest is a long event, so the committee suggests that guests pace themselves and enjoy the fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Stella says that it’s been an incredibly fun and rewarding experience to serve on the Oktoberfest committee, explaining that “the people who get involved in their first year will stay involved. There’s just something about it that makes you want to stick around. It can be stressful at times, but everyone on committee brings such a fun energy to the table.” If you weren’t able to get a ticket this year, I’d start planning for Oktoberfest 2016 soon; with at least 300 tickets going to international guests, it might be worth making a few German or Austrian friends!
One more thing to watch out for on the day is the film crew who have come back again to finish the filming they started last year. By the end of the day they should have an amazing video that will sum up the spirit of Oktoberfest, so make sure they catch your smiling faces.
Photos courtesy of the Oktoberfest Facebook page