Authentic in Oktober

With the turn of every fall season comes the anticipation of annual festivals, where locals can share in company, good food, and seasonal drinks. Arguably one of the most anticipated festivals every year is Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest was first held in Munich, Germany in the early 1800’s to celebrate the marriage of Louis I of Bavaria and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The royal family invited all the citizens of Munich to join in the festivities that have since been called Oktoberfest. Now every year there are hundreds of Oktoberfests nationwide, with one of the more popular ones in Cincinnati, Ohio

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Because Oktoberfest is so popularized in modern society, it is hard to figure out whether it still holds true to its German heritage, as it claims to. The meaning and purpose of the festival has been hidden behind all of  the craft beer and turkey legs and, ultimately, commodified. However, as explained in Andrew Potter’s The Authenticity Hoax, there is a distinction between something being “genuinely authentic” and “fake authentic.” Potter says that to be genuinely authentic, one must recognize itself as a replica (or in our case, a festival based on another festival) whereas the fake authentic becomes something new, in its own right, without any resemblance to the old.

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Oktoberfests are examples of the genuine authentic in our culture. The festivals do not claim themselves as the true Oktoberfest, but a replica of the festival and celebration held in Munich every year.

Knowing what you now know about the original Oktoberfest, would you argue Zincinnati’s Oktoberfest, and other festivalss like this, is genuine authentic or not?

– Nick, Melanie, Mary & Patrick

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