Jeanine Fritz
Jeanine Fritz

It's September, mein freunde, and that means it's time for Oktoberfest. Wondering why a holiday with the word "October" in its name is held in September?

Short answer: weather.

Long story endless: in 1810, Louis XVI's godson, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, married Princess Terese on Oct. 12. They had a ginormous party outside the city in a huge meadow, with lots of beer and horse races and a farmers' market and carnival booths, and Everyone and Their Mom was invited. It must've been pretty epic, because the following year, they threw an even bigger soiree.

Over time, the wickedly brilliant Bavarians figured if they rolled out the barrels earlier and earlier each year, they could spend more time with their beer, when the days were longer and the weather was warmer. And now, 200 years later, the party's still going, kicking off in late September and lasting through the first Sunday of October. While some people dream of climbing the Himalayan mountains, writing the next great American novel, or having a large family filled with polite, well-adjusted children, I hope someday to attend the true Oktoberfest, following in the footsteps of my fore-Fritzes and dancing on a table in a dirndl before passing out in a pool of bier with a pretzel stuck to my face. A girl's gotta have goals.


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The past few years, I've settled for attending one of the many Oktoberfests held around Colorado, mostly heading to large ski towns, such as Vail and Breckenridge. More festivals are added to the calendar each year, as event organizers are realizing Coloradans love drinking beer outside while listening to oompah bands.

Should you decide to roll to one of the fests — be it a little one in a nearby town, a big one further away, or any day this month at the Bohemian Biergarten — this Oktoberfest expert can tell you you'll need a dirndl (or lederhosen), a large stein, a camping chair, and a willingness to shout, "PROST!" into the face of anyone who locks arms with you and spins you in a wild circle while the tuba player hits his stride.

Since several of my Oktoberfest partners and I have a bachelor/ette party to hit in New Orleans this weekend when we'd normally be in the mountains, we found the earliest festival we could and went to that.

We had to work Friday and Saturday night, so the girls and I scrambled up to Beaver Creek first thing Sunday morning. (And yes, by "first thing," I mean we left at 11 a.m.) By the time I hit Silverthorne, I realized I hadn't packed shoes, pants or a jacket of any kind. I'd gotten up, hosed off, thrown on a swimsuit and cover-up for the drive, and packed my suitcase in five minutes flat. In it, I had a dirndl, bloomers, a pink tutu, a cast-iron skillet, one pair of underwear, pancake mix, my toothbrush, three pairs of knee highs, and my dancing boots. Not the most comprehensive pack job ever, but I'd managed to remember the important things.

A parting word of advice: Ladies, if you're going to buy yourself a dirndl (The Ritz in Boulder has been very good to us over the years), I cannot stress enough the importance wearing something underneath it. If you end up with one of those short-skirted numbers, for the love of all that's good, buy yourself some bloomers. A tutu is good too (too), but when you get whipped around in a circle on the dance floor, or sit on a bench, or say, trip over a stray stroller and eat shit in the bratwurst line, it doesn't matter if you've kept your undercarriage from looking like you've got Questlove in a leglock, your Big Girl Panties aren't gonna cut the mustard. Let's keep in mind we're basically at The Longest Running Wedding Reception Ever and you do not wanna be That Girl.