Sunday, September 24, 2006

Deutsche für einen Tag

It happens once a year, when all of Philly - Italian, Irish, Jewish, Japanese - all become "German for a day" courtesy of Oktoberfest at Ludwig's Garten. The staff at Ludwig's commandeers Sansom St. between 13th & Broad and transforms this normally dismal alley into a bustling biergarten with traditional German food, drink, and music. This was my third year channeling my inner St. Pauli Girl, and while its always been a good time, this year's was uber fun with the addition of the 13th St. corridor shops and restaurants participating in their own simultaneous street festival.

Ludwig's Oktoberfest (which in accordance with German tradition, actually takes place in September) technically could be considered "daylife," since it gets rolling around noon and by 10 pm is a mere memory. But with its over-abundance of suds, Jaeger shots, and sausage, I figured it resembles a night at Mad River close enough to fall into the Nightlife category. The difference is the dress code - any frau who arrives in heels will soon regret the decision, and Phillies jerseys trump the requisite striped shirt that you'll find at more image-centric venues. It's crowded and sloppy, and I don't know whether it's the Oompa band, the lederhosen or just the fact that you can legally drink in the streets, but the happy, carefree atmosphere makes Oktoberfest one of Philly's best annual events.

Ludwig's Garten, 1315 Sansom Street (215) 985-1525

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