Oktoberfest - Munich’s Iconic Beer Festival
Oktoberfest is the world’s most famous beer festival, held for a few weeks each year in the German city of Munich and attracts millions of people from around the world. And as Oktoberfest kicks off this week and with some of our customers currently flying out to the planet’s oldest and biggest beer festival we thought we would see why a visit to Oktoberfest is appearing on people’s bucket lists.
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is a beer festival held annually in Munich, Germany, visited by over six million people from around the world. You can expect to see everyone dressed up in traditional Bavarian clothes (lederhosen for the men and dirndls for the girls), all having a good time and drinking lots and lots of beer. In addition to the eating, drinking, live music and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades and a variety of fairground rides.
The History of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture and dates back to 1810. It began with the marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12 when all the townspeople were invited to attend the marriage festival which took place in the fields outside of the city gates. Following the wedding the fields were named Theresienwiese (shortened to the ‘Wiesen’ by locals) after the Princess. The party was such a hit that the townspeople asked King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following year. The wedding celebration has now become a 16 to 18 day festival in which six million people visit a year.
When is Oktoberfest?
The event kicks off on the third Saturday of September and runs until the first Sunday of October following German reunification day on October 05.
The next Munich Oktoberfest dates are:
- Oktoberfest 2018 – September 22 to October 07
- Oktoberfest 2019 – September 21 to October 06
- Oktoberfest 2020 – September 19 to October 04
Oktoberfest Beer Tents
There are 14 main beer tents and 21 smaller tents each containing long communal wooden tables and benches, some of which are on more than one level. Some of the larger tents can hold up to 10,000 visitors.
The Schottenhamel tent is reckoned to be the most important tent at Oktoberfest as on the first Saturday of the event, no beer can be served until the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg at noon in this tent. Only then can the other tents start serving beer. The Hackerbräu tent is decked out in Bavarian blue and white and the Winzerer Fähndl tent is complete with a beer garden and huge tower. The Augustiner Festhalle tent is popular with families.
Millions of litres of beers are served over the few weeks Oktoberfest runs, in fact in 2017 over 5.7 million litres of beer were consumed. The beer served comes from Munich breweries such as the Spaten, Paulaner and Augustinr and it is all served in one litre steins.
To wash the beer down, visitors can enjoy a vast variety of German cuisine including half roasted chicken, giant pretzels, bratwursts and pork knuckles.
Traditional Bavarian attire is usually worn by visitors to Oktoberfest with men donning lederhosen and ladies wearing dirndl dresses - you will feel slightly left out if you don’t get dressed up.
What Else Does Munich Offer?
Munich is a beautiful city with lots of things to do as a tourist; some of the main attractions include the English Gardens, the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Park, the Schloss Nymphenburg Palace, BMW World and BWM headquarters, the Eisbach where they surf on the river, Dachau concentration camp, the Hofgarten and Residenz.
If you are flying off to Munich for a few days to enjoy the beer festivities don’t forget to pack your lederhosen or dirndl and don’t forget to book your airport parking with I Love meet and greet.
By Sarah Anglim at 20 Sep 2018