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Oktoberfest – Love It or Hate It?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UW Lax chapter.

Oktoberfest – Love It or Hate It?

Nearly every person who lives in La Crosse most likely has an opinion of Oktoberfest, but is there a general consensus? Each year on the Sunday of Oktoberfest weekend, I see Facebook post after Facebook post shaming the participants of this populace event for being dirty, filthy, and shameful to our community. With this year’s festivities beginning again, I began to wonder: do the majority of the people I interact with daily hate Oktoberfest? I put my minimal knowledge of research methodology to the test and began the interview process.

Starting with my roommates and moving down the ladder of everyone else I see most often during my week here at  UW-La Crosse, I asked the question: “What is the first word that pops into your head when I say ‘Oktoberfest’?” I whipped out the notes app on my phone and took down the participant’s name and then his/her answer, and then proceeded to put a plus or minus symbol next to the word. Why? I want to know if the first word they think to associate with Oktoberfest has a negative or positive connotation with it.

Overall, some answers were expected – examples include, but are not limited to, beer, alcohol, “darty,” and vodka – but some shocked me. A few of my personal favorites were thanks to two out of my five roommates; “dirndl” was the answer I received from my roommate who spent last year’s spring semester studying abroad in Germany. For those of you who are like me and have absolutely no clue what a dirndl is, I learned that it is a traditional Oktoberfest dress – or in other words, ‘that corset dress that german beer wenches wear.’ I was additionally delighted when another roommate smiled at me and responded with “maple leaf.” So wholesome. Another favorite of mine came from my mom, who claimed that lederhosen was the first word that she thought of relative to Oktoberfest. I’ll have to remember to buy a pair for her for Christmas this year.

I know you’re all begging the question, what did my research unearth? I should first say that I tried to stay as traditional as I could when deciphering the connotations of certain words, ignoring the general distaste that most people tend to associate with college kids combined with any number of topics/objects/situations. For example, I gave beer and alcohol a positive connotation because it is commonly used during celebratory occasions and during social gatherings and, when consumed in moderation, is enjoyed by many. In comparison, though, I gave the word “drunk” a negative connotation, because I considered how I would feel if I had to take care of a very drunk friend: in general, irritated. Lederhosen was a tough one, but I don’t think I have ever seen someone wearing lederhosen while having a bad time, so I gave that one a plus sign. After all of my interviews, I was able to find that majority of the people that I interact with every day have a fairly positive attitude about Oktoberfest. Yay!

I think taking my findings and contributing them to the rest of our campus’ community isn’t such a crazy idea, so I am being so bold to say that I would think that the majority of college students at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse enjoy the Oktoberfest activities, or even the other events that pop up for the people who aren’t so interested in the fine art of college binge drinking. Below I have included the list of associations my participants gave me.

Happy festing, please stay safe, and try to remember to recycle your cans!


  • Drunk

  • Beer (x 8)

  • Nasty

  • Dirndl 

  • Maple leaf

  • Alcohol (x 5)

  • Vodka (x 2)

  • Lederhosen

  • Parade

  • German

  • Party (x 3, “darty” included)

  • Fun 

  • Bar