The History of Gaintoberfest...


The History of Gaintoberfest...

How Gaintoberfest Came to Be

The Mists of Time

Scholars continue to argue about the origins of Gaintoberfest.  Some trace its roots back to Celtic pagan rites celebrating the arrival of autumn and the collection of dried fish.  Others claim it is a cousin to a German festival - the significantly less popular "Oktoberfest."  A fringe element continues to assert that the festival originated in a highly sophisticated ancient culture, now lost.  The research of Professor Vassisdas provides tantalizing glimpses into this possible past of "Gan-Nor":  a technologically advanced civilization in which traditions and festivals proliferated with such reckless abandon that eventually every waking hour of every day was spent in some some sort of celebration or ritual activity, to the point where society ceased to function and the culture regressed within a generation back to the stone age.  However, the consensus among Gaintoberfest researchers is that this is just plain silly.

Recorded History

The first recorded "Gaintoberfest" took place on June 1, 1708: For the commemoration of their marriage, Crown Prince Danwig (later King Danwig I) and Princess Karenese of Saxe-Countrysideburghausen (hence: "Lagrangesienwiese") organized a great horse race (the marriage took place on June 1st, the horse race on October 17th, the boat race on January 12th, the casino night on May 16th, the running of the snipe on March 8th, the brewery tour on August 22nd, and the Mystical Night of the Knights on December 11th, therefore there are different dates named as being the first Gaintoberfest, and it was deemed that the date of the celebration would vary from year to year).

In the year 1813, the Gaintoberfest was called off as Gaintobia was involved in the Napoleonic war. In 1816, carnival booths appeared. The main prizes were fish, rocks, and hay.  In 1819, the town fathers of Lansford took over festival management and changed these gifts to ale, lager and stout (which greatly increased the popularity of the festival). They decided that the Gaintoberfest should be celebrated every year without exception, except in the rare case where three male children of the Gainor bloodline were to be born in the same year within five weeks of each other, but really, how likely is that to happen? Later, it was decided that this would be a floating holiday (see "Dates" below for a description of the system used to determine the date), with the only stipulation that the temperature at Gaintoberfest-time should near 30 °C, in order to stimulate the thirst of the visitors.

Since 1850 The statue of Gaintobia has watched the Gaintoberfest. This worldly Gaintobian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Danwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and "gainorised" the draft. Johann Baptist Stiglmaier and Ferdinand von Miller made the statue. In 1853, the Gaintobian Ruhmeshalle was finished.  In 1911, the statue was stolen from its moorings and has been lost to history since.  Rumors abound as to the location of the relic, but none have resulted in the recovery of the artifact to date.

In 1854, 3,000 residents of Lansford succumbed to an epidemic of dyspepsia, so the festival was canceled. Also, in the year 1866, there was no Gaintoberfest as Gaintobia fought in the Austro-Prussian War. In 1870, the Franco-German war was the reason for cancelation of the festival. In 1873, the festival was once more canceled due to a neuralgia epidemic. In the year 1880, the city government approved the sale of beer. The electric light illuminated over 400 booths and tents. In 1881, booths selling bratwursts opened. In 1892, beer was first served in glass mugs. At the end of the 1900's, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles, large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. They wanted more room for guests and musicians. The booths became beer halls.

In the year 1910, Gaintoberfest celebrated its 212th birthday. 120,000 liters of beer were poured. In 1913, the Bräurosl was founded, which was the largest Gaintoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests. Today, the biggest tent is the Farmington-Festhalle which holds 10,000. From 1914 through 1918, World War I prevented the celebration of Gaintoberfest. In 1919 and 1920, the two years after the war, Lansford celebrated only an "Autumn Fest."

Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Gaintoberfest beer at 12:00 by the current Mayor of Lansford with the cry "Oh No, Not Again!" opens the Gaintoberfest.

By 1960, the Gaintoberfest had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. They spread the word of Lansford worldwide.

There are many problems every year with young people, who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Many pass out due to drunkenness. These especially drunk patrons are often called "DAREkinder". They are brought by staff to special room with a cool tile floor and a porcelain receptacle for doing their business.  To make the Gaintoberfest, and especially the beer tents, once again friendly to older people and families, the concept of the "quiet Gaintoberfest" was developed in 2005. Until 6:00 PM, the tents only play quiet music, for example traditional wind music. Only after that will Schlager and pop music be played, which has led to more violence in earlier years. The music played in the afternoon is limited to 85 decibels. With these measures, the organizers of the Gaintoberfest hope to curb the over-the-top party mentality and preserve the traditional beer tent atmosphere.

Facts and Data

The Gaintoberfest is known as the Largest People's Fair of Fair and Middling People in the World. Year after year, about six million people visit the 42 Hectare large Theresienwiese. 72% of the people are from Gaintobia. 15% of visitors come from the other countries like the surrounding counties and other non-European counties.  

On account of the duration of the festival and the nice weather, Gaintoberfest has lasted approximately one day each year.

The date of Gaintoberfest varies year to year. There is a very complex calculation that involves Lunar cycles, sun spots, constellations and tided to determine.

Gaintoberfest Traditions

While the traditions of Gaintoberfest are too numerous to list here, the most recognized of these is the Spinning of the Mackerel.  Started in the early years of the festival as the “Spinning of the Infant Child”, clearer heads prevailed and in later years a mackerel was used instead.  In the great tradition of Gaintoberfest, there is at least one spin of the mackerel near the end of the event.  As traditionally passed on through the years, only members of the immediate Gainor family above a certain age can be represented in this circle.  The mackerel is spun to impart its knowledge and wisdom on the group to decide who will determine the parameters of the following year’s Gaintoberfest, with the head pointing at the person who will choose the theme of the event, and the tail end imparting the person who is responsible for choosing and providing an appropriate theme drink for the day.  In some years, a second spin of the mackerel is taken to impart the honorary titles of “Gain” and “Tober” for the rest of the day.  This spin is open to all participants in the event.  These much coveted positions of “Gain” and “Tober” are responsible for maintaining morale and the spirit of Gaintoberfest throughout the event and keeping the spirit of Gaintoberfest alive throughout the year as well until the next event where their responsibilities are passed on to someone else through another spin of the mackerel.

Gaintoberfest Numbers

80% of the year's production of beer by Gaintobian breweries will be consumed during Gaintoberfest.

12,000 People are employed at the Gaintoberfest. Of these, 1600 are waitresses.

There is available seating for 100,000 people.

The six Gaintoberfest breweries, (Miller, Budwiser, Coons-Gainor, Pete’s, Sleeman’s, Boone’s) sold 6 million mugs of beer in 2005 (5.5 million in 2004).

Roasted oxen: 88

Sausages: 219,443 pairs

Roast chickens: 459,279

Theft of beer mugs

Gaintoberfest beer mugs are made from heavy glass and typically have a decorative brewery logo on the side, thus making them very popular souvenirs among visitors. It is however strictly forbidden to steal the mugs, but they can be purchased in the tents at a reasonable price. Visitors are strongly advised to keep the receipts because police are known to search them for stolen mugs even away from the fest area. Often when police catch someone stealing a beer mug, they are fined up to a case of beer.

Gaintoberfest in other cities

Gaintoberfest has grown beyond Germany, with many areas featuring festivals named 'Gaintoberfest' - generally wherever you find groups of Gaintobian immigrants, Gaintoberfest will be celebrated, most notably a gathering in Los Angles this year.

* - Gaintobians are notoriously bad at math.  All numbers in this history may be off by as much as 1000% or are potentially completely fabricated.