You have not attended a real party until you’ve joined the other 5 million people to attend the annual Oktoberfest festivities in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. With the capacity to hold up to 100,000 people at a single time the Oktoberfest fairgrounds are rowdy yet surprisingly controlled. The beer is certainly a good enough reason to head to Oktoberfest but most people don’t realize how much else is going on at the festival as well. From a carnival-like area for adults and children alike to the giant tents and smaller shops just about anyone can find plenty to occupy their time at Oktoberfest.
When & Where
Oktoberfest is held at Theresienwiese, conveniently located in central Munich and accessible by multiple U-bahn stops. The festivities last for the 17 or 18 days leading up to the first weekend in October, so the majority of Oktoberfest is actually in September. The 2011 Oktoberfest is Sep. 17 – Oct. 3, in 2012 the dates will be Sep. 22 – Oct. 7. The weekends can be extremely busy at Oktoberfest, particularly with many Europeans flocking to Munich for only the weekend. If you want to be able to move about a bit more comfortably and have a better chance of scoring a seat in the larger tents, try to go in the early afternoon and/or on a weekday.
Book your hotel well in advance as they will sell out and prices will skyrocket
In 1810 King Ludwig I married Princess Therese and invited all the locals from Munich to join them for the celebration. Since that day the area has been called Therese’s meadow (Theresienwiese). Since the party was such a success the people of Munich decided to continue to celebrate for the royalty’s anniversary by having another horse race in the same area, as was done during the wedding ceremonies. This began an annual tradition and Oktoberfest was born, celebrating it’s 200th year in 2010.
Tents At Oktoberfest
There are nine primary breweries in Bavaria and since only beer brewed in Munich is allowed at Oktoberfest, these companies including world famous brands like Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, and Paulaner each have a huge ‘tent’ at Oktoberfest. Although these are temporary structures you would never know it when you walk inside the multi-story buildings that feature stages and can hold up to 10,000 people at a single time. During the evening hours the tables inside the tents are by reservation only so if you are not planning on reserving table you are often better off going on the earlier side.