Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rightmyer Annual Oktoberfest 2011

I have been trying to write this post for a couple of days. I am having a hard time finding the words to describe our party this year. I will warn you in advance that this post is long, probably should have been several posts but I just want to write it and move on. 

My husband says one day I will laugh about this party.

I'm not laughing yet.

Anyone who has ever hosted a large party knows how much work and planning it takes.  You plan and prepare for months and then the party comes and in a matter of hours it is all over. Last year I learned that many things could have been done differently, but such is to be expected when one is hosting ones first Oktoberfest. This year I was determined to be more organized and not have the last minute panic that seems an inevitable part of party prep.  I made list after list of what needed to be done, I had the lists organized into categories and time frames for completion.  For awhile I was pretty much on schedule, the yard work was running behind schedule but that was mainly because it rained the entire month of September. 

Gee thanks, September.

(And, just for the record you are no longer my favorite month.)

As the party approached I worried some about the weather, the forecast was changing wildly.  At one point they were calling for 82 degrees and sunny.  Then a couple days later is was changed to 56 degrees and sunny.  Closer to the party it was calling for chance of rain, partly cloudy. The morning of the party they were calling for a slight shower at 9am, slight shower at 3pm and slight shower at 6pm, then the rest of the evening was clear.  Not bad, we could work with that.

Despite my extensive planning there was a mad rush the morning of the party, I started to fall behind in my food prep and wasn't able to start decorating as early as I intended.  I was somewhat cheered about the weather though, the predicted 9AM shower was only a spitting of rain, not even enough to dampen the patio. 

The mad rush continued but with the help of family the decorations were up and the food was almost ready by party time. Once again, I did not get hardly any photos, partly because I was running behind schedule and didn't get any before the party started and then later, well, things kind of got a little crazy.

Once again we had VIP parking up by the house and General parking in the field. I strung blue and white lights from the fence leading down to the parking area in the field to help guide the way to the house.

We had a welcome display set up at the top of the steps, hay bales, mums, pumpkins, balloons, our welcome sign and lots of bubbles. The "Beer Tent" and "Pretzel Stand" were set up under the tent. The food table was set up on the patio. 

  The menu this year was as follows:
hard pretzels
soft pretzels
bratwurst & buns
caraway sauerkraut
red cabbage
warm German potato salad
potato soup
German meatballs & noodles
pumpernickel & rye bread
German chocolate cake
Black Forest Cake
apple cake
We were expecting 120 people this year but the actual number was 94. 70 adults and 24 children. So we had plenty of food this year, lots of left overs.  I always worry about the food quantities, it is so hard to know how much food to fix for that many people.

The party started at 4pm, the Oompa music was playing and the cars were rolling in...

Have you ever wondered why the terms "Oompa music" and "German drinking music" seem to be used    interchangeably?  Just listen to Oompa music for about 5 minutes and I guarantee you will start drinking. Works great for an Oktoberfest party!

Ever wondered in you can grill 120 brats on a tiny charcoal grill??? heck ya!

...the music was blaring, the beer was flowing, the brats were grilling, the soft pretzels were hot out of the oven and we were keeping an eye on the sky.

Then the first rain drop smacked us right in the eyeball.

Then another and another. 

People started crowding under the tent and tarps, opening umbrellas, gathering under the trees. 

We kept smiling, kept saying "It will pass soon, they are only calling for a slight will pass....light shower, that is all...." 

We kept smiling, the drops turned to showers, the showers to out right rain and the rain to a down pour.

"It will pass soon, only calling for a slight shower."

People abandoned the trees and umbrellas and played Packed Sardines under the tents, they moved into the house, into our under-1000-square-feet-house and into our even-smaller-unfinished-addition. They sat on chairs, the floor, stood shoulder to shoulder, everyone trying to stay dry and warm. Did I mention the high that day was 56 degrees?   

About 6 hours and at least an inch and a half of rain later, the shower finally passed. Leaving in it's wake a soggy, soggy mess. The field was a mud pit, it is a miracle that the last of the vehicles even made it out. The house was full of mud that had been tracked in, the party tables, tents, decorations were filled with water and most of the party stuff was destroyed.  

But lest you are weeping in your coffee cup in sympathy for our soggy Oktoberfest party there is a positive ending. There were many brave people who came to the party, stuck it out through the cold rain and had a great time! Kudos to all the hearty souls!  Maybe the bravery was due in part to the liquid courage that was flowing liberally. Maybe is was due to my homemade apple pie moonshine that I passed around, like any good hostess would do. Regardless of the reason, our guests were troopers and helped make the party a success!

I'm still not laughing.

But there may be a smile tugging at the corner of my mouth.

Here's to 2012!  

Ein Prosit!

'til next time...

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