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Photos: Anchorage's 47th Oktoberfest kicks up its heels

Kurt Rein sports a hat he got at the Munich Oktoberfest a few years back. This year's Oktoberfest, held at the Egan Center in Anchorage, was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Cheryl Jones and her son Nicholas, 3 years old, dance the polka at Oktoberfest. This year's event was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
German beer, from the brewery Hofbräu München, was served at this year's Oktoberfest, which was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Kimala Rein and her daughter Sylvia toast during this year's Oktoberfest, which was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dale and Ingrid Dryden dance the polka at Oktoberfest. This year's event was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The button box gang, an accordion polka troupe, prepare to get on stage at Oktoberfest. They have been performing at Oktoberfest as long as anyone can remember. This year's Oktoberfest was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Performers entertain revelers with a traditional German bench dance. This year's Oktoberfest was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
From left, Stephanie Spring, Jenn Hilchey, Kristina Kremer, and Emily Allen sport crazy hats at Oktoberfest. This year's event was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The Alaska Blaskapelle polka band leads the chicken dance. This year's Oktoberfest was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Children participate in the traditional German hat trick, where hats are passed from person to person, faster and faster, until someone drops one and is relieved. This year's Oktoberfest was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Revelers dance the chicken dance at this year's Oktoberfest, which was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Justin Flowers toasts the traditional German Oktoberfest drinking song "Ein Prosit" (literally "A toast"). This was his first time celebrating. He got lederhosen this year and thought, "Why not?" This year's Oktoberfest was the 47th annual celebration organized by the German Club of Anchorage. October 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Scott Woodham

Dust off your dirndles and lederhosen, folks. It's that time of year again when people all over the world gather to celebrate Bavarian food and culture. The rich, savory comfort foods, large servings of tasty adult beverages, and plenty of happy singing and jolly music, make Oktoberfest a perfect fit for Alaska, where fall is already well on its way toward winter.

Although most of the English-speaking world considers Oktoberfest a broadly German occasion, in reality, it represents the traditions of one state, Bavaria, in the heart of Germany's mountainous south. The wildly popular fall festival attracts millions of people to its historical epicenter, Munich, Bavaria's capital. In 1810, then-Prince Ludwig was married to Princess Therese, and the whole country was invited to celebrate.

The rest is history. Each year since, barring wars, recessions, and plagues, Munich has celebrated the autumn's arrival with abandon.

Anchorage's Oktoberfest, an institution now in its 47th year put on by the German Club of Anchorage, ends Saturday night at the Egan Center downtown. But there's still a chance to catch up on polka dancing and fine German cuisine next weekend at Alyeska's Oktoberfest.

So, get out on the dance floor. And be sure to brush up on the lyrics before you go: Eins, zwei, g'suffe! and Die Schnitzelbank won't sing themselves, people.

PROST!