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Virtual Oktoberfest Events: How to Celebrate the Bavarian Festival Online

By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

Holding virtual Oktoberfest events is an excellent way to foster better team dynamics for remote or hybrid workers. The combination of cultural pursuits, fun games, and plenty of beer consumption – whether of the alcoholic or non-alcoholic kind – is guaranteed to bring your colleagues closer together.

Oktoberfest 2023 is just around the corner, so we’ve assembled a comprehensive guide on how to host an Oktoberfest virtually, including the drinks, foods, and activities you should include to create an authentic(ish) celebration for your work-from-home staff. So, raise your stein and let’s get stuck in. Prost!

1. What Is a Virtual Oktoberfest Event?

Virtual Oktoberfest events are online celebrations that emulate the world’s most famous beer festival. Traditionally, Oktoberfest is centered on the city of Munich, Germany, which holds an annual autumnal carnival where beer imbibing and associated Bavarian traditions take place. These days, it’s possible to celebrate the cherished drinking extravaganza digitally, removing the boundaries of geography from the equation.

2. How to Organize Fun Virtual Oktoberfest Events


2.1 Set a Date and Time

The first step in organizing your virtual Oktoberfest is to schedule the event. In Bavaria, the festival commences on the second to last Saturday of September and concludes on the first Sunday of October, so you’ll probably want to pick a day sometime within that period.

2.2 Choose Virtual Platform

There are lots of different video-conferencing platforms to choose from, including common software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet. You can also go a bit more sophisticated and have an external provider help you organize your virtual team-building experience, such as Hooray Teams.

2.3 Decide Theme and Decor


Virtual Oktoberfest events can have different motifs to suit your staff’s tastes and preferences. For example, you might ask everyone to dress up in traditional attire involving lederhosen and dirndl. Alternatively, you could simply adopt an Oktoberfest-inspired color scheme of sky blue and white. 

2.4 Send Invitations in Advance

Make sure you give staff advance notice of your virtual Oktoberfest events. The more time people have to prepare, the more likely they are to get into the spirit of the celebration.

2.5 Plan & Facilitate Activities

Planning a schedule in advance will provide structure to your online Oktoberfest, so that the event runs smoothly. Make sure to include some time for people just to chat and catch up.

2.6 Announce Winners & Distribute Prizes

Add a competitive element to your Oktoberfest by preparing prizes for things such as best dressed or best stein decorator. This will stimulate people to throw themselves more actively into the theme.

3. Virtual Oktoberfest Event Ideas in 2023

3.1 Virtual Beer Tasting


The cornerstone of all virtual Oktoberfest events is, obviously, the beer! Oktoberfest beer is traditionally a brew called Marzen, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to just one type. A virtual beer tasting is a good team-building activity to promote conversations between staff, allowing them to get to know each other a bit better. 

To make it more inclusive, consider throwing some no-alcohol or low-alcohol options into the mix. It might be interesting to see whether your team can tell the difference. Arrange to send out a mixture of different ales, pilseners, and lagers to your team, then ask them to describe which ones they like best and why.

3.2 Costume Contest

Encourage people to show their light-hearted side with a costume contest. Either ask everyone to dress up in traditional clothing or keep it a bit broader by stating that the theme is ‘beer’ or ‘Germany,’ which allows attendees to be more inventive.

Getting staff out of their normal work clothes and into a costume not only fosters a more informal atmosphere for team building, it is also guaranteed to elicit a few laughs. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for everyone to show off their creativity.

3.3 DIY Pretzel Workshop


Pretzels are a key constituent of Bavarian cuisine and are commonly consumed during Oktoberfest, not least because these soft, doughy morsels are a delicious complement to beer. Hire a professional baker to take your team through the process of making their own at home or save a bit of cash and broadcast a YouTube Pretzel making instructional video.

Cooking workshops are an eternally popular virtual team-building activity because they are fun, interactive, and creative, keeping everybody engaged. Plus, there’s always plenty of conversation to be had around sharing tips and laughing over culinary fails. 

3.4 Virtual Trivia Night

Virtual Oktoberfest events can incorporate other popular digital activities, such as team trivia nights. Ask one person to act as host and prepare questions across different Oktoberfest-themed categories (e.g., history of the celebration, beer facts, popular Oktoberfest songs, etc.). Split different teams into separate chat rooms, so that they can discuss amongst themselves the answers to the various questions.

Virtual trivia nights bolster communication between colleagues, building stronger relationships. They also help people get to know one another better.

3.5 Oktoberfest Playlist & Dance Party


Oktoberfest comes with a host of associated dances, from the traditional, time-worn schuhplattler to the rather more modern chicken dance. Hire a professional to run a class or ask one of your more rhythm-attuned staff to learn and lead the dance.

Aside from being hilarious fun, a dance party will loosen everyone up a little, setting the stage for a more relaxed team-building environment. You may find that having this take place remotely actually means everyone is a bit more confident about strutting their stuff than they would be in a real-world situation.

3.6 DIY Beer Stein Decorations

Steins are the traditional German vessels used for drinking beer. It’s possible to order plain white steins online and have them sent to each member of your team, so that everyone can decorate their own before the virtual Oktoberfest events. These can then be modeled during the online gathering.

Beer stein decoration is a good team-building activity because it enables individuals to show off their design skills as well as their imagination, boosting morale.

3.7 Digital Stein Hoisting Contest

In addition to decorating a stein, you can use the mugs as part of a very traditional Bavarian beer game: Masskrugstemmen. The concept is simple: every player lifts their stein up as though about to cheers their colleagues. They must then keep their arms aloft for as long as they possibly can. The person who holds the position the longest wins.

A more physical challenge, Masskrugstemmen is a good companion activity for other creative pursuits. It’s a bit of harmless fun that is easy to organize and humanizes your workforce.

3.8 Virtual Storytelling Competition

There are several different ways to host a storytelling competition. One of the easiest methods is to supply a random topic and ask each person to improvise a tale. At the end, everyone votes for the most amusing and/or inventive story. The person who gets the most votes is crowned the winner.

Communication is a key part of building a successful team, and a virtual storytelling competition is the kind of activity that fosters conversation, as well as helping everyone to get to know one another better.

3.9 Virtual Oktoberfest Pictionary


Pictionary is a drawing game in which participants take it in turns to sketch an object, activity, or action. The rest of the players then have to guess what is being drawn, with the person who guesses correctly being awarded points. This can be hosted through a free online platform like Drawize, or you can use the whiteboard function available on many video-conferencing platforms.

Pictionary is another activity that encourages people to show off their creativity, while the variance in artistic ability is sure to generate laughs and build up a sense of camaraderie.

3.10 Virtual German Movie Night

For something that’s a little more relaxed and very easy to put together, celebrate Oktoberfest with a movie night. There are a lot of options to choose from, including black-and-white classic Metropolis, surrealist drama The Tin Drum, heartwarming comedy Good Bye Lenin, or action thriller Run Lola Run.

To add more of a team-building element to your virtual movie night, ask everybody what they thought of the film afterwards. It might be a good idea to prepare a list of questions beforehand to drive conversation and encourage attendees to discuss their thoughts and feelings. This kind of open discourse is a good habit to get your team into and can later be utilized in work situations.

4. FAQs

  • Why is it called Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest was first held to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen in 1810, with festivities running from October 12 to 17 – hence Oktoberfest. The popularity of the event led to it becoming an annual celebration, but the date was moved to a slightly earlier time of year to take advantage of the better weather in September.

  • What activities take place at Oktoberfest?

Beer drinking is what Oktoberfest is most famous for, but other traditional pursuits include Masskrugstemmen (stein holding), folk dancing, and sausage eating. In Munich, there’s an annual parade that roams through the streets, as well as numerous marquees with different themes and attractions.

  • How do you celebrate Oktoberfest?

Aside from throwing back steins of Marzen, most people will dress up in their lederhosen and dirndl, before engaging in a bit of schuhplattler dancing. Make sure not to miss out on traditional foodstuffs like wurst, pretzels, and pork knuckle.

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