Today might be cold and rainy -- more like December 17 than October 17 -- but last weekend the skies were bright and sunny for Oktoberfest.
Our local Oktoberfest celebration always brings the neighborhood out in force. There's a lot to see and do, from vendors selling handmade jewelry and art, to a traditional German band and dancers, to games and crafts for kids.
It's a fun event to walk around and explore, ducking in and out of booths to see both stunning and (occasionally) terrible art, where you're not sure WHY someone deemed it saleable.
When I was in high school and worked for the neighborhood community association, Oktoberfest meant work, usually selling tickets or helping lost passersby. In the years since, the celebration has expanded doubly and is certainly more fun as an attendee than employee.
A nice surprise this year was a booth from a German bakery. While 95% of the food vendors sold your typical fare junk -- hamburgers, greasy pizza and funnel cake (which Lauren made me try for the first time at ShamrockFest two years ago) -- this booth had real apfelstrudel, giant Bavarian pretzels and Haribo.
In this 10-foot-wide booth was a tiny taste of the entire market experience I had in Salzburg, Austria, two years ago.
I was disappointed there wasn't more German food, though. Most hamburger stands also sold bratwurst and sauerkraut but that was it. All I wanted was a big plate of spatzle. I don't know why but it's just SO good, like German mac-and-cheese.
All and all, Oktoberfest is always a fun day out. Two years ago, I celebrated Oktoberfest at a beer garden on the Thames in London. One year, I'll make it to Munich.