Oktoberfest: A Beer-Lover’s Dream

September 16, 2017

Oktoberfest is the biggest folk festival in the world, held every year in Munich in Bavaria. As famous around the world as it is in Germany, it runs over at least a couple of weeks every September/October, attracting more than 6 million people.

Known in Bavaria as Wiesn after the local fairgrounds, the festival is a huge part of Bavarian culture, and has been celebrated in Germany since medieval times. These days it’s celebrated in many other cities around the world, too.

German beer takes centre stage, with many millions of pints served over the duration of the festival, along with lots of traditional German foods like sausages, pretzels, and even oxen.

 

Oktoberfest: Key Facts

When does it takes place?

Oktoberfest 2017 takes place from the 16th September to 3rd October.

Where does it take place?

In the centre of Munich on the Theresienwiese fairground site.

 

What are the key events?  

The first Saturday of the festival sees a colourful parade of floats and decorated brewery carts pulled by horses, all making their way to the festival grounds. At exactly midday, the Lord Mayor broaches the first barrel of beer, marking the official opening of the festivities.

The Sunday sees another parade, this time of the wide variety of costumes and traditional dress from various parts of Bavaria, other German states, and neighbouring countries. There are also historical military costumes, riflemen, and marching bands, as well as various animals such as horses, cows, and goats.

The second Sunday of the event features an open-air concert featuring lots of brass bands at the foot of the Bavaria monument.

On the last day of Oktoberfest there’s the traditional gun salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument.

 

How do you get to Oktoberfest?

Being in the city centre makes Oktoberfest easy to get to, taking just 10-15 minutes to walk to the grounds from Munich Hauptbahnhof (main station).

Do you need to pay to get in?

No, it’s free to enter the festival grounds and visit your choice of tents. It’s best to arrive early to get hold of a table, though.

 

What happens when you get into a tent?

Once you make it inside a tent – and that often isn’t as easy as it sounds – you’ll only be served beer if you have a table, and you can only keep your table if you keep drinking. The Festhalle is the largest and most popular tent, and if you want to guarantee a table in there, you’ll have to book many months in advance. If you prefer a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, try one of the smaller tents around the festival.

What are the security arrangements?

With such a large number of people in attendance, security is taken very seriously, and large bags and backpacks won’t be allowed onto the festival ground.

Closing time is closing time

In the evenings, closing time is 10pm and 10:30pm on weekends, and beer isn’t served after this time. It’s best to respect the rule to avoid getting in trouble.

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