Once again, my honorable crony Jared is the inspiration for a column. Often found donning pink hair and a T-shirt supporting Christian rock (“why should the devil get all the good music?”), Jared wouldn’t seem a journalistic muse to most. Without him, however, I would never have related the benefits of wearing sunscreen or the terror lurking inside the brain of every squirrel. Man, I hate those chirpy little bastards, with their bushy tails and plans for world domination. But I digress.
Jared and I were discussing, amongst talk of world finance and boobies, about a serious oversight in the greater Orono area. In light of recent conflicts, many seemingly less-important events have been overlooked. One event, however, is much too important to have received such an ill welcome. I speak, of course, of Oktoberfest.
According to www.samadams.com-where I go for all my news-the Bavarian beer festival originated with the Sept. 1810 wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa. They celebrated their nuptials with the depletion of the March stock of ale, a party so successful it lasted 16 days. Every year since, beer lovers have looked forward to wearing liederhosen and drinking from giant mugs. While the party endured in Munich and points beyond, however, Orono residents were left to drinking Coors Light and watching anthrax updates on Headline News. Sadly, no Oktoberfest celebrations took place anywhere near campus. There was a festival in Southwest Harbor Columbus Day weekend and I think a few students might have ventured in its direction, but they were unfortunately fated to wandering downeast Maine in an alcohol-induced haze, hopelessly searching for some fabled last scoop of lobster-flavored ice cream.
While I did not get the chance to eat bratwurst to the music of oompah bands and dance with German m�dchens, I did venture out on a tour of my own, sampling some of the finer Oktoberfest offerings from local breweries. While my memory veered from clarity toward the end of the 16-day stretch, I remember the Sunday River Brewing Company’s draught as most delicious.
Maybe next year the university will throw its own celebration, where students and faculty alike can pass out on grassy floor of the mall as equals, transcending the labels of student and teacher to a common ground. What better way to bond than with an epic binge of beer and partying. More could be done to strengthen relationships than any semester in the classroom. But more realistically, students and faculty will have to continue getting drunk in the privacy of their own abodes, living separate beer lives save those awkward moments when one sees his professor’s face pressed against the bar at the Bear Brew Pub on a Monday night. One of those situations both parties would like to forget.
Damn, I hate those squirrels.
While Oktoberfest represents more than a fortnight of beer-drinking bliss, one must remember there is more to life than these 16 days of fermented festivity. Namely, I’m referring to the other 349 days of the year in which indulging in malted refreshment is hardly discouraged. Any day is a wonderful day for a tall glass of beer; you don’t have to wait for October. If you’re into the liederhosen aspect, however, please heed some advice: keep them in the closet until next year.
Brad Prescott is a senior English and economics major.