Oktoberfest Tip: Get Your Hat First

After wearing my chicken hat at work the Thursday before Oktoberfest, I realized that I really needed a hat that had more to do with beer.  The owner of my company, respecting (or pitying) my sacrifice of self-esteem by wearing my beloved hat at work sent out a company-wide email explaining why I was wearing a dead chicken on my head.  **sigh** While that gave me lots of chances to tell co-workers about Oktoberfest (I really am an enthusiast), there really is no angle for connecting the chicken hat to Oktoberfest. Although I don’t know that I’d be allowed to wear a beer-themed hat at work (it’s a Christian company), I still had it in mind to get a new hat this year.  I have instead learned a new tip.  Get your hat first.

I was on the square at 4 o’clock on Friday for the official opening.  It was a little anti-climatic because the tapping of the keg was at 6:30 so few people were there that early.  I got to wander around for a little while though and take in the sights.  There was a pirate ship on Kentucky Street.  The sign said “Shaved Ice”, so I assume it was snow cones?

Pirate Ship on the Square

Pirate Ship on the Square

Laura Moore’s Fine Art Studio had their labyrinth set up on Tennessee Street. She used donated cleaning supplies this year that gave her beautiful color options as well as something that could deal with foul weather, though that wasn’t an issue this year.

Walk A Mile Labyrinth by Laura Moore Fine Art Studio

Walk A Mile Labyrinth by Laura Moore Fine Art Studio

The real action this year was on Louisiana Street.  They had Hamm’s brats, wiener dog races, a petting zoo, live music and then all of the shops along this stretch.

Booths Setup on Louisiana Street

Booths Setup on Louisiana Street

I should have gotten my hat then, when things seemed slow.  Instead, I wanted to check out two of the new stores on the square.  I ran into the owner of Bloom a little while back but she was really busy.  I stopped in on Friday and checked out the store (she has some really cute things) but I left, intending to come back, when one of the artists coordinating the McKinney Art Studio Tours came in to explain that event and hang a flyer in the window.

Bloom Now Open

Bloom Now Open

I still had time before the keg tapping, so I stopped by Kitchenwares on the Square before walking home to collect the husband and come back.  Great place!!! They are absolutely packed wall-to-wall with every type of kitchen accessory you can think of.  I bought the popsicle forms I wanted, as well as a lime saving container and a little jigger for measuring liquids. I hadn’t thought about using them in conjunction at the time.  Does alcohol freeze? 🙂  I know straight alcohol won’t but I’m wondering if margarita popsicles would be possible.

Kitchenwares on the Square Now Open

Kitchenwares on the Square Now Open

The mounted police were down by the Kitchenwares shop so I asked to take their picture.

McKinney's Finest

McKinney's Finest

By the time we made it back down to the square for the keg tapping, there were tons of people. It looked like the Cheeto’s Cheetah had even made an appearance.

The Cheetos Cheetah?

The Cheetos Cheetah?

My vote for best-smelling booth this year is for the booth making potato chips on a skewer.  I know it looks like they just have a whole potato on the end of the skewer but I saw lots of people walking by with actual potato chips on the skewer, so I’m assuming that the potatoes separated while being cooked?

Potato Booth

Potato Booth

We passed by the potatoes though and headed straight for the beer garden where our friends had already gotten some food from the Bavarian Grill’s booth.

German Fare at Oktoberfest

German Fare at Oktoberfest

We tried to find a table but that ended up being our only complaint over the whole weekend.  There were tables on the north and south sides but we really could have used some on the east side.  All the tables were full so we ended up sitting on the courthouse steps to eat.

When I heard Mayor Loughmiller on the soundstage, I knew the keg tapping couldn’t be far off.

Mayor Loughmiller Spoke Before the Keg Tapping

Mayor Loughmiller Spoke Before the Keg Tapping

Sure enough, within a few minutes the keg was tapped and drained.  Franconia is locally brewed not far from the square and is pretty popular.  They offer tours on Saturdays and consistently get good reviews from everyone who attends.

Franconia Keg Tapped for Oktoberfest

Franconia Keg Tapped for Oktoberfest

As the evening wore on, the food vendors got even busier.  The team from Bavarian Grill were on the west side of the square, next to the beer ticket booth.

Bavarian Grill Cooks

Bavarian Grill Cooks

Beer tickets were $5 each and one ticket bought you one beer or one wine.  You could only buy the beers inside the fence, Franconia or Warsteiner, or small glasses of Landon’s wines.  One hint I learned (I hope they do this again next year) is that you could get tickets inside the courthouse and the lines were much, much shorter. You could still get light beers at one of the many pubs along the square but then you couldn’t leave that pub to go into the beer garden.  I’ve never seen this work differently anywhere but a couple of my friends said that they were surprised by that, citing Dallas’s St. Patrick’s Day as a example of people being able to walk around freely with a beer. So, it may be that way other places, but it isn’t here.  Alcohol bought inside the fences has to stay inside the fences.

There was so much to do on the square and the evening seemed to go so fast.

Live Music Played on the Soundstage

Live Music Played on the Soundstage

The booth next the south stage was really rocking.  I asked the team who they were with and they said that they were with Orison’s Art & Framing. They were clearly busy so I didn’t follow up on that.

Cooking Their Hearts Out

Cooking Their Hearts Out

Everyone seemed to have a great time.  A lot of people had great hats.  Somehow, I never made it by the booth.

Dancing in the Streets

Dancing in the Streets

Many of the shops kept normal hours so they were closed up on Friday before anything really got going but some of the shops stayed open late. It was well after 9 o’clock when we walked by Nan Lee Jewelry and saw they she had shoppers inside browsing.

Nan Lee Jewelry Was Open Late

Nan Lee Jewelry Was Open Late

We started the next day off around 11:30 with lunch at Patina Green.  Their Franconia-braised pork on hoagies were fantastic.  I ran out of time to make it by House of Hargrove sale so a friend and I instead went into every antique store on the square and then some.

Some family came over from Frisco and I met them over by the wiener dog races.  The wiener dog races were adorable.  The dogs were held gently in place on one end and then let go simultaneously to see who could be lured the quickest by a love one at the other end. If they don’t turn around to go back to lick the person at the starting end, the races go pretty fast.

Weiner Dog Races

Weiner Dog Races

By 3 o’clock, my feet felt like I had walked all of the skin off.  All in all, it was a wonderful Oktoberfest this year. Even if I didn’t get a new hat.

Accordion Player on Louisiana Street

Accordion Player on Louisiana Street

That was really my second lesson to take away from Oktoberfest .  Pace yourself.  I got to see and do so much but I missed a birthday party and an invitation to go back on Saturday evening because my feet were so done in from enjoying the festival starting on Friday.

Next year, I’m wearing tennis shoes, pacing myself (maybe) and buying a new hat right at the beginning.

Until next time,

Happy Shopping!

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