‘Let’s talk Oktoberfest 2016
O’zapft is is rolling around again and with it one of the biggest events in the German Festival calendar. Just to make matters very clear: although it’s called Oktoberfest it actually takes place in September, this year from September 17th to October 3rd. Munich will again be brimming with visitors, local and foreign, for two weeks of merrymaking, celebrations, eating, drinking and having a great time.
Each year the organizers try to create new attractions and events to make the Oktoberfest ever more entertaining. Let’s take a look at the history and then I’ll give you an overview of the most important things to do and know.
On October 12th 1810, the then Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. To celebrate the occasion all of the citizens of Munich were invited to beer, food and entertainment in the form of parades and horse races. The venue chosen was a huge field just outside the city gates which was named Theresienwiese in honor of the bride. Since then it has become an annual event, the world’s biggest Volksfest attended by something like 6 mill visitors. It is, of course, no longer gratis!
The name Theresienwiese is locally called Wiesn, the horse races ended in 1960 but the opening parade of people in traditional clothes followed by the horse trailers of the breweries and musicians playing ear busting Blasmusik remains.
As does the opening ceremony: at 12pm on the dot, the incumbent mayor of Munich taps the first keg of Oktoberfest beer accompanied by the traditional words: o’zapft is!
You can enjoy the Oktoberfest in two ways. Either you just go there, pay your admission and drift or you choose a tent, run by the most famous caterers of Munich which means you must make a reservation well in advance. To name one of the best and most traditional: the Kaefer Tent. http://en.feinkost-kaefer.de/index.php?id=5
Seats are much in demand and you must reserve well in advance and be prepared to fork over quite a lot of money.
Drifting from Bierhalle to Bierhalle to enjoy your Stein, ribs, Weisswuerste and other local delicacies may be a bit cheaper but not by much.
Half the fun of attending the Oktoberfest is to dress the part. For ladies it’s a dirndl complete with embroidered apron and silver jewelry. For men, yes, why not… Lederhosen!
If you wish to keep the dress, you can buy it reasonably priced in a department store or measure made at great expense in one of Munich’s many fashion boutiques. Or you can hire an outfit at: http://www.bavarian-outfitters.de
The first thing you do as a guy is to buy your sweetheart a Lebkuchenherz which she will proudly wear around her neck.
It’s edible and perishable, so for a more lasting souvenir you might want to opt for the popular designer steins. They are works of art, hand painted and called Wirtekruege. Each year there is a new theme.
For the full program, events, prices and other useful information please consult: http://www.oktoberfest2016.de/
Where to stay
Munich offers countless hotels in all categories, but, again, during Oktoberfest you are well advised to book as soon as possible. I’ll just mention my personal favorite: the traditional and family run 5 star hotel Bayerischer Hof. https://www.bayerischerhof.de/
I love it not only because of its great location in the heart of Munich but also because it has a fabulous pool and fitness center on the top floor with a roof which opens, a Traders Vic downstairs, several restaurants with excellent cuisine but also a theatre in the basement. Relax and entertainment all under one roof.
Join the Oktoberfest fans from around the world and enjoy the real thing in wonderful Munich.