Oktoberfest: A Taste of the Abroad Experience

by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2019


BOP Brings German Tradition to Providence College

by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff

McPhail’s was a vortex, pulling bystanders from Slavin into another world this past Friday, October 18, eager to enjoy the revelry and entertainment of this year’s Oktoberfest. The tables were covered in Bavarian blue and white-checkered table cloths. There were pretzel balloons scattered on table corners and on the edges of bar stools. There were decorations of traditional German houses and streets and plenty of delicious food. There was an assortment of pretzel bite flavors, and savory sausage, pepper, and onion combinations. The entire event was, to say the least, delicious.


Oktoberfest has a long history at Providence College, but it goes back centuries in Germany. It began in Munich in 1810, before Germany was a united country. It was an event where all members of Bavarian society, the group in Southern Germany at the time, near Munich could gather to celebrate the marriage of the crowned Prince Ludwig I to Princess Theresa.

It was a grand celebration held in a beautiful meadow, which is how the open area and tent style of Oktoberfest developed. Eventually that field became known as Therese’s meadow. The first few years saw horse racing as one of the major traditions of Oktoberfest. Through the complex and twisting history of Germany, Oktoberfest has transformed and grown into a two week long celebration in Munich with different traditions bringing together Germans, and attracting many tourists.

One staple associated with Oktoberfest is, of course, the beer. The highlight of Oktoberfest at PC was the festive beer tasting for those 21+. 

Situated in front of the stage was a representative of Horizon Beverage Group (the distributor of McPhail’s), who was in charge of providing generous pours for those interested in experiencing the hallmark of Oktoberfest. For beer lovers, the tasting consisted of beers ranging from lighter lagers to darker brews, with some sweet flavors such as lemon citrus and pomegranate. Some of the name brands included German titles such as St. Pauli Girl, as well as others more locally known, such as Samuel Adams. Along with the tasting, BOP manned a t-shirt sale at the event; each shirt was navy blue and sported a cartoon pretzel, and credited the collaboration of BOP and McPhail’s for making the night possible.

BOP members Kevin Michels ’21 and Maria Johnsen ‘20 were thrilled with the turnout. When asked about the event’s success, Michels replied, “We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and the fact that so many people stayed for a while. There were superb vibes all around.” Planning for the event, they said, began months ago. They worked excitedly to plan the catering, decorations, and more in order to create an amazing night. Overall, the exuberant event provided PC not only with a night of fun, but also a taste for Oktoberfest’s beautiful traditions.

BOP and McPhail’s continue to anually immerse the College in these traditions. McPhail’s was packed last Friday night with friendship, culture, entertainment, and great food. McPhail’s also will be selling the beers from the tasting for a limited time. If you are 21+, you can go to McPhail’s to try these new Oktoberfest flavors and more fall specials.