What started out as the colossal wedding party of a Bavarian crown prince, way back in 1810, has turned into a 16-day beer blitzkrieg called Oktoberfest! Starting September 19th to October 4th this year, lager lovers from all over will congregate in Germany for this celebration of Bavarian proportions honouring their food, clothes and drinks. While this beer guzzling, hangover inducing spree may seem like sheer madness to first-timers, festival pros have made their own cheat sheet to survive the celebrations unscathed. Here’s a peek…
Give yourself an early start
There are only 14 big drinking tents that accommodate around 10,000 people each and they sure do fill up fast! The opening and closing weekends are the crazy, so if you’re aiming for good seats in one of the tents - be prepared to line up by 7.30 in the morning. A word of caution on the golden brew: with 6 - 7% higher alcohol content than usual and a serving size of 1 litre – a slow and steady binge will help you last through the day.
Don’t forget the food
Eat to keep the hangover at bay. Or just because you can’t keep your hands off the delectable Bavarian fare! The usual grub includes plenty of Brezeln (pretzel), Weisswurst (white sausage), Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle), Hendl (roasted chicken), Spätzle (egg noodles) and Kartoffeln (potatoes).
Choose your tent wisely
Do your research on the 14 big tents before making reservations. Each one has different characteristics and promises a unique experience. One stays open till late while another is the ‘wildest and most fun’. There’s wine, schnapps and vodka to be had in one, while yet another hosts crossbow contests! Take your pick and stick to it; there’s almost no chance of finding seats in a new tent on any given day.
Dress for the part
Dress up in traditional Bavarian outfits - Lederhosen for guys and Dirndl for girls to fit right in. Pick regular jacket and jeans at your own peril; sticking out like a sore thumb could be a real buzz killer.
Make some time for Munich
The Oktoberfest may be Munich’s biggest drawcard but it would be a sin to leave the city without getting around. As the home of BMW and abode of magnificent architecture, baroque palaces and fancy museums - Munich packs in something for everyone.