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Oktoberfest kicked off last weekend in Munich and runs for two weeks. And while there are all kinds of local celebrations, if you want to throw a party of your own surrounded by friends and family I thought I would share the one we had at our house a couple of weeks ago.

Between my husband and I our heritage is extremely rich with German blood so we throw an Oktoberfest party almost every year. This year, with relatives in town, it was a week early but we thought we would just go for it so they could see how we really party in this house!!!

This year was the biggest and grandest yet! We set up a tent in the backyard with a rectangular highboy table as a sort of ode to the beer tents at Munich’s celebration.

I decorated it simply with a white table cloth and blue gingham runner. Blue and white are the official colors of Oktoberfest – the colors of the flag of Bavaria. I tried to find some authentic diamond-patterned fabric to make my runner, but when that failed I think the gingham worked very nicely.

I lined up small and large canning jars I just happened to have on hand and filled the large ones with white flowers (I bought a couple of bunches at the grocery store – but you could use whatever you have in your yard) and the small ones with tealights, added a couple of small pumpkins representing autumn and done! So simple looking and oh so easy!

We pulled out all the German beer steins to display – and for our guests to use!

Since we had recently had new floors installed, my beautiful heirloom blue and white Spode china was still packed away so I gathered what I could for serving pieces – mostly blue plastic trays and bowls from the dollar store.

On the menu was a platter of German wieners and brats with grilled onions and sauerkraut.

A tasty home-made German potato salad.

And a German tomato salad I found in one of the German cookbooks my mother-in-law gifted me. This was so simple and delicious! What a perfect end-of-summer side dish. I just layered fresh, heirloom tomatoes, diced onion and vinaigrette. It was certainly a hit!

My husband smoked up some ribs too just for good measure! Sure, why not!

Of course we had to have pretzels.

I am so fortunate to have a German bakery in the neighborhood 🙂

For dessert we served my Great-grandmother’s German apple cake and the most divine chocolate cheesecake lovingly made by my mother-in-law.

My 10 year-old niece came over to help cook so I decided that since I had an extra hand, we needed a fabulous party favor this year.

We baked gingerbread hearts – Lebkuchenherzen. (This is my go-to recipe from Allrecipes.) And  she carefully decorated each and every one.

They sell these at Oktoberfest in Germany. They usually come on strings for wearing around your neck. We put them on strings but also then enclosed them in cellophane bags for easy transport.

My niece was very diligent in her job of making sure every guest went home with one! It is such a sweet touch to the end of a wonderful evening!