The German Society brought a rainy Saturday night to life with its second annual Oktoberfest celebration.
Oktoberfest is a 16-day autumn festival held in Germany that attracts more than six million people from around the world. Hosted by the German Society at the heavyweight crew house on Elm Street, Yale’s version of Oktoberfest featured many of the hallmarks of its inspiration, including authentic German soft pretzels, live music and plenty of beer. The event brought together more than 400 members of the Yale community.
“Oktoberfest is a tradition where people get together and have fun,” said Philipp Arndt ’16, the president of the German Society. “Basically [it’s a celebration of German culture].”
Last year, the German Society charged $2 for entry at the door, but this year, prices rose to $5, and tickets went on sale in the days leading up to the event. Arndt said that the inflated prices covered the party’s live music, German food and decorations.
Selling tickets beforehand allowed organizers to better predict the number of attendees, Arndt said. He added that over 300 tickets were sold before the event.
Arndt was worried that Saturday’s wet weather would negatively affect the turnout, but the rain held off for the evening, and several hundred people packed under a large tarp in the backyard.
“It’s a great opportunity to talk to people and meet people,” said Romy Carpenter ’18, who attended the event. “Definitely worth $5.”
Planning the large party was not without its challenges.
Arndt said he had a difficult time earning the administration’s approval of the event. According to the Yale Undergraduate Regulations, admission charges may only be levied for organized social functions in the event of significant entertainment costs, and may never be used to cover the cost of alcohol.
“One of the issues was definitely beer because Oktoberfest is always associated with beer, and Yale doesn’t think that’s too great,” said Arndt. “We had a little bit of trouble with the administration in the beginning … we had to show them that there were a lot of expenses that were culturally related so that we can hold the Oktoberfest with beer and [with] charged admission.”
The beer was well received, with dozens of partygoers standing in line for the “Beer Garden.”
“There’s a really long line for beer,” said Mike Hanson GRD ’20. “But I’ve had a couple, and I’m having fun.”
Students who missed Oktoberfest have varied cultural events to look forward to, including a Turkish Night in the spring and the Hellenic Society’s Easter celebration.
Nasos Abuel ’16, president of the Hellenic Society, said that his organization roasts a lamb on the spit every Easter in Stiles’ courtyard.
“It’s not like Oktoberfest which involves a lot of beer,” Abuel said. “It’s something we do during the day … [and] it’s a free event.”
The Oktoberfest celebration always ends on the first Sunday of October.