If you couldn’t tell by the title of this post, I just got back from Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany! Oktoberfest has been on my study abroad bucket list since I found out I would be in Europe this fall, and after months of anticipation, I can happily say that it did not disappoint!
Now to answer why it’s called Oktoberfest even though it’s held in September. The simplest explanation for the name is that it starts the third weekend in September and ends the first Sunday of October. I am still not sure how that explains the reason for the name, but I guess Oktoberfest does have a better ring to it than Septemberfest.
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese. Since then, it has transformed into the world’s largest beer festival, with approximately 6 million visitors from around the world each year. While many flock to the festival for the wide variety of beer, my favorite part of Oktoberfest was all of the carnival rides. I have been pretty bummed out about missing the state fair at home this year, but I had a friend that rode a lot of the rides with me and it made me feel like I was home again…just without all of the rude and severely overweight people.
Trying to explain Oktoberfest can be a little tricky because it is a somewhat foreign concept to Americans, so I made a list of the top ten things that I think everyone should know before going.
- Get there early. When they say you need to be there before 7:00 A.M. to get into the best tents, they aren’t joking.
- Be prepared for lots of waiting. We got there at 7, just to stand in line for the tents to open at 9, and then we had to wait until 12 to order drinks, when the first beer tapping is.
- Do your best to get into the Hacker-Pschorr tent. It’s famous for a reason.
- Rent a table. It’s better to shell out the money than to stress about not having a place to sit all day.
- Get the pretzels. And the sausage. And the cheese bread. It may seem outrageous to spend so much money on food, but it’s worth it.
- For every stein you drink, drink a stein of water. Dehydration is no joke.
- Don’t be the girl that throws up at 1 P.M. Or at all for that matter. You will get kicked out of the tent. Just for the record, I wasn’t that girl. But it is embarrassing to know that girl.
- Find people that speak English and befriend them. Most of the natives don’t speak English and it can be intimidating to be around people whose language makes it sound like they want to kill you, regardless of what they are saying.
- Wear a dirndl. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you don’t.
- Don’t be afraid to sneak into tents. Security has bigger things to worry about than chasing through the crowds after you.
Whether you are 5 or 85, Oktoberfest is something everyone should try to go to at least once in their life! Maybe it’s because of the beer, or maybe it’s because of the culture, but everyone you meet reminds you that God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.
Prost and Auf Wiedersehen!