Race-goers to get a taste of Germany as Oktoberfest arrives

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 October, 2008, 12:00am

Portly gents in leather shorts, slapping their thighs while playing the accordion, as beer girls with plaits twirl in dirndls, yodel and hold 16 pints of beer in each hand - just some of the traditional images you may have seen at the Munich Oktoberfest in past decades.

However, the Happy Valley version will be so much more refined.

The Jockey Club's Beer Garden will be hosting an Oktoberfest on Wednesday race nights on October 8 and 15 as well as a rare Sunday race day on October 19.

'The Beer Garden is part of the grandstand at the racecourse, so you have a great view of the passing horses while you can try out famous German dishes such as pork knuckle, sauerkraut, Munich-style sausage and Bavarian apple pie,' said Hong Kong Jockey Club media communications manager Julia Tsang.

A German chef and waiters in traditional Bavarian blue-checked shirts will be serving up the beer and food, and you can learn new culinary skills as the chef demonstrates how to make 10 giant pretzels.

And when you're not betting on the horses, there will be traditional Oktoberfest contests such as the wood sawing and chopping game - that should take about half an hour, which is usually how long it takes to pour a German beer.

And now for the historical bit. The Jockey Club is very much keeping with tradition. Nearly 200 years ago, the original Oktoberfest in Munich was organised around a great horse race to commemorate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Ludwig was a bit of a lusty lad and had lots of mistresses, which long-suffering Therese stoically put up with, although she refused to associate with them. Good girl.