Oktoberfest and the Pretzel Necklace

I recently got to celebrate Oktoberfest with the best of them.

I worked as a beer girl/wench/pretzel necklace maker. The event at the National Harbor was a lot of fun. What started out as a straightforward gig, took a turn for the best. The first question I was asked, “Do you want to get paid extra to wear a costume?”

If you know me at all, the answer was — “YES PLEASE!”

On the first day, with all VIP girls in our Beer maiden costumes they asked, “Is anyone good with crafts?”

Clearly I should have raised my hand, but I was holding out for a coveted beer-pouring job. I mean I make crafts all day, every single day.

I wanted the coveted beer-pouring job. Little did I know fate would have me making pretzel necklaces by the end of the first day.

I was stationed at the middle booth with other girls. We had some time to kill before they let everyone in, so we sampled the beers we were serving. I officially like three beers, aside from Lindemans Lambic Framboise Beer, but that’s another story.  Apparently I am into German wheat beers. So the three beers I like are:

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen is on tap at my favorite D.C. bar. If not for my roommate/bestfriend Ashleigh ordering it all the time and the fact that it comes in a beautiful tall glass,  I would not have known I had such love for this beer. This experience opened me to trying similar beers. I sampled Schneider Weisse Original beer at my booth. I loved it. I also love Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy that stopped being available when the pools closed! That’s another reason why summer should never end.

When people came in, the lines got crazy and the people in them even crazier. Pouring beer at the VIP station meant they could try any of the beers we were serving without paying a token. Each person is given a cup at the door. We were allowed to pour to the second line on the cup, about one-third full to a line that says “DAS BETTER.”

We were allowed to accept tips, but under no circumstances were to pour past that line. It is amazing what people will say and do to get you to break these rules. Luckily they prepared us for it.

Keep in mind that outside of the VIP tent participants had to pay for every beer sampled with a tokens. Sampling is exactly what your are supposed to be doing, not chugging every beer possible. Sampling allows you to be coherent enough to know the name of the beer you are drinking.

So as I was profusely apologizing for sticking to the rules and trying to keep people from cutting in line and ignoring the one gentleman in the corner asking me questions like “what’s your name?” and refusing to believe the answer.

My costume with Steve Madden Heels. I look pretty cool. Don’t you think?
My legs are too short for the knee-high tights. If I was 5-foot 9-inches, they would look totally awesome.

One of the girls from another booth came up and asked if I could switch jobs with her. Before I asked what I would be doing instead of pouring beer, I was out of there.  I walked in the direction of where she had pointed only to started shaking in my Vans when I realized it was the bacon and sausage station.

Quickly I turned around and asked the women who was overseeing the beer booth if there was any other place I could work. There was a bit of confusion. I won’t bore you with the details, but in no time at all I found myself at the best booth at the whole event. I got to make pretzel necklaces with an awesome girl named Jasmine!

“What is a pretzel necklace you may ask?”

This was meant to be a make-it-yourself pretzel necklace station. But it was not the most sanitary of crafts. So we were in charge of making everyone and their seven children a pretzel necklace. We had latex gloves (that were made for giants), boxes and boxes of giant plastic bins filled with Utz pretzels, and precut pieces of blue yarn. We had to string the yarn through five to 10 pretzels and tie it off so it could fit over any size head and be worn as an eatable necklace. One women who never got the memo that it was no longer a DIY pretzel making station. She returned countless times to try to make her own.

Before the bacon incident the biggest dilemma I had faced earlier in the day involved picking which costume I wanted to wear.

When I finally figured that one out it was onto the next fashion issue.

Tights or no tights?

Flats or Vans?

Pretzel making station is a two girl operation. We rocked!

These are the questions that plague a crazy, crazy girl like me who obsesses about color coordination and is bad at making any kind of decision. Saturday was hot so I went with no tights. As you can see, I am one of the few who went without. I also stuck with my Vans which was a great choice. The beer booth was covered in ice water and it soaked through other girls’ flats. Having wet, cold feet all day is not fun!

The costumes came with petticoats and I always love an excuse to wear a petticoat or two. There are not enough occasions or reasons in these modern times for a girl to wear a petticoat when she wants.

Though I love the costume I ultimately picked out, it was not the most comfortable. I am average or petite but I have broad shoulders, which makes me feel like a fat man in a little coat some times!  Everything fit perfectly except for the sleeves because of my broad shoulders! The sleeves hit my arms in the wrong place and are far too tight on my girly guns. I have this issue often.

This is yet another reason I am sad summer is over because I hate having to wear anything with sleeves.

The main reason is because of the lack of circulation to the rest of my arms.  It limits my degree of motion, which I can’t stand, and makes claustrophobic and irritable. I have physical proof from this weekend’s discomfort, two dry rough patches on each arm from where the sleeves were cutting into my skin.

The highly coveted pretzel necklace. I have no idea how many of these I made over those two days, but I am pretty sure everyone who attended got at least one if not two or seven.

My hatred for sleeves is also partly to do to the fact that I spent half my life in leotards! This makes it  hard to want to wear anything else, especially uncomfortable non-elastic clothing with stuffy sleeves.

A friend informed me that I needed to be an asshole, that all bartenders are assholes because they deal with this stuff all the time. I took this to heart and applied it to the pretzel necklace-making station as well. The following day the first jerk of the day was rightfully put in his place when he asked for a necklace without any broken pretzels. I in turn asked him to step out of line and gave him a necklace with only broken pretzels —  but it was all in good fun. He, his friends and I all enjoyed my time bomb that he set off.

The Sunday crowd was so different than the Saturday crowd. I was pleasantly surprised by how many men and women got dressed up for the festival. It did get a little confusing because a lot of the girls were wearing similar, if not exactly the same costumes, as the event staff.

Sadly, we were not able to keep the costumes. To get paid we had to return them. I worked at a Spirit Halloween store long enough to know that those costumes, while expensive, are not worth two days making pretzel necklaces with latex gloves that were way too big for my small nimble fingers.

All in all, it was a great experience despite my retelling of events. I made some new friends and connections. I found my calling at the pretzel necklace-making stand. Not a bad way to earn money on the weekend!