Dozens of students lined up for salty, soft German pretzels and sparkling apfelschorle — an apple spritzer — in the Gift Plaza last month. Students and faculty socialized over '80s German pop and house music while playing a variety of games.
The community gathering was a campus celebration of Oktoberfest, where the UNC German Club and the Carolina Union Activities Board collaborated to provide free food, carnival games and music for entertainment.
Junior Elizabeth Cake, who is minoring in German, said that events like these are a good way to become immersed in German culture.
“For me, it kind of helps with the FOMO. I know a lot of people who are going abroad right now and they're in the main beer garden in Munich celebrating, so it's nice to have a little taste of that right here at UNC,” she said.
The largest Oktoberfest carnival is held annually in Munich, Germany with almost 6 million people attending each year. Festivities include booths for drinking, eating, dancing, and various rides and attractions.
Cake explained that for the celebration in Munich, people dress in traditional German clothing, with men wearing lederhosen and women in dirndls, a type of dress. Another significant part of the celebration is the food and drinks.
Hannah Wacker, German exchange student, said it was fun to see how Americans emulate Oktoberfest, even if it's far off from the original festival. Wacker said she has never been to the celebration in Munich herself, but has heard stories and seen pictures from friends who have gone.
“I get to have a piece of home here. It reminds me of all the fun stuff that I’m missing out on,” she said.
Beyond the pretzels and apfelschorle, senior Melanie Altenkirch, treasurer of the German Club, said Oktoberfest is a way to get students excited about learning the German language and culture.