Hudson resident hopes to create authentic fun at Oktoberfest
While studying abroad as a student at UW-River Falls, Hudson resident Chip Meyer made a trip to Munich that left a lasting impression.
At a long table surrounded by strangers, many of whom did not speak the same language, Meyer still found a connection to those around them, as they raised their steins and danced to the music.
"It was just like you could communicate through the atmosphere and the music and the feel of the event. That's what brings people together even though language separated us," he said.
Meyer and his business partner Ryan Brown hope to recreate this feeling each year, though language barriers may be less frequent, at the Twin Cities Oktoberfest celebration hosted at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
The two purchased the event last year from a Hudson family, the Hantens, who they have worked with at the Minnesota State Fair.
"What a wonderful thing to own something that everybody is happy to be at," Meyer said.
Years after his first trip to Munich, Meyer was able to experience the city during Oktoberfest. That trip has helped him and Brown as they work to make the festival more authentic each year. Authenticity is a key aspect for them, Meyer said.
"The excitement and the joy of celebrating, just being together," Meyer said.
The festival, held Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6 this year, features a variety of authentic food, music and dancing.
"It's just a wonderful time to get together and meet new friends and hang out with old friends," Meyer said.
Food offerings include sauerbraten, roast pork loin, chickenwurst, European pancakes, brats, Polish sausages, pretzels and more.
Entertainment will be provided by the Bavarian Musikmeisters, S.G. Edelweiss, Doctor Kielbasa and The Squires Band.
Many of the nearly 4,000 in attendance come in traditional dress, including Meyer and Brown.
Putting on the authentic gathering takes a lot of planning, starting almost immediately after the last year wraps.
"As soon as Oktoberfest is done this year we're already booking bands for next year," Meyer said.
The week before is when things really ramp up for Meyer and Brown as they make final preparations and decorate the venue, which Meyer said is one of the best Oktoberfest venues.
"It really feels like you're in a German beer hall," he said.
When the crowds pack in for the event, Meyer enjoys seeing that familiar scene, the one he knows from his trips to Munich and reunions in his own German family. With food and drinks in hand, guests sit back, telling stories and finding those connections.
"Watching people light up with conversation and with laughter," Meyer said, is the best part of the festival.
For more information visit the event's website at twincitiesoktoberfest.com/.