Earlier in September I received an invitation to Oktoberfest at Ivy Hall, just outside of Philadelphia in Overbrook. On Saturday, I went:

The International Institute for Culture is hosting its 16th annual Oktoberfest party on September 30th at Ivy Hall! Join the party that’s been running since 1810! “The Oktoberfest” is a festival of food, drink, and entertainment. It is a coming together of family and friends that has its roots in Germany at the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Although the party at the wedding ended, the tradition of celebration continues to this day.

I hadn’t known the history behind the Oktoberfest celebration until reading this. I took a few photos and a short video that doesn’t nearly do justice to what was a really enjoyable night that felt way outside my normal experience of Philadelphia events, in a good way.

Ivy Hall is the home of the the International Institute for Culture, and I like their mission and language so much I’m including it here. You can’t appreciate why Oktoberfest was so special at Ivy Hall without understanding what Ivy Hall is really a home for:

The International Institute for Culture is a non-profit educational and research center which seeks to promote international understanding through cultural means. Started in 1989 in response to the Holy Father’s call for the re-evangelization of culture, the IIC is engaged in international conferences, language and cultural programs, lectures series, educational seminars, art exhibits and musical performances which reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Catholic Church and which may serve to bring people to the Person of Jesus Christ.

The purpose IIC is not to advance the idea that it is possible to restore some ideal Christian past. There never has been one. Rather it is to look at the way in which the Faith has shaped cultures in the past and the culture in which we live today, the manner in which it preserved and elevated whatever was good and noble in any culture which it encountered and repudiated whatever debased the human spirit. With such knowledge and with a commitment to the Redeemer of Culture we can begin working together to build the new “civilization of love.”