Prost! Your Survival Guide to Oktoberfest 2017
If you like non-stop beer, pretzels and large crowds of people for 17 days straight, you are going to thoroughly enjoy this article. Hang on to your mugs and let the good times roll. We’re heading to Munich, Germany to prepare you for the commencement ceremony on September 16th of Oktoberfest!
The internationally renowned Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world, held annually from mid-September to the first week of October. Oktoberfest is famous for many things, including drinking copious amounts of beer and eating delicious German cuisine such as pretzels, chicken, sausages and more. Prepare to indulge.
Check out the official Oktoberfest website here!
The festival contains a rich history dating back all the way to 1810, where the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen led to festivities in which all citizens of Munich were invited to attend. The event was located right in front of the city gates which were named Theresienwiese, or “Theresa’s Fields”. Horse races marked the end of the festival, and was repeated the year after, giving way for an annual tradition. Oktoberfest grew exponentially over the years with a plethora of new attractions being added over time including bowling, tree climbing, parades and more. The tiny beer stalls eventually evolved as well, turning into massive beer tents selling some of the finest German beer. The festival was then expanded to host the entire German state of Bavaria, which led to further expansion on an international scale.
Ironically, one component of Oktoberfest which has not endured the years are the horse races, which initially spurred the annual nature of the festival. One little tidbit that confuses many is the fact that Oktoberfest starts in September. Originally, it started in October, but was moved due to the weather usually being quite dreary during that particular month.
Nowadays, Oktoberfest has gained worldwide recognition as an essential part of German culture, and something you must see if you ever find yourself visiting Munich. Around 6 million tourists come from all over in order to taste some of the most authentic German cuisine and attempt to out-drink the locals on their own beers, a task which might end up with them face flat on the ground in embarrassment!
One thing everyone does when attending the festival is to go straight into one of the 14 main beer tents. These can contain anywhere between 1000 – 8000 people, so they’re quite easy to lose your friends in! These tents all have their own unique names and differing atmospheres in order to accommodate every individual’s needs. One thing to take note of, is that most tents will serve beer exclusively in 1L pints, if you’re one who can’t handle their alcohol, well, I recommend you pace yourself accordingly. The amount of different activities to partake in are staggering, with the almost 3-week long time frame being hardly enough to experience every part of the enormous landmass that encompasses the festival grounds.
Oktoberfest for all!
Oktoberfest has become so popular over the years, that many cities have adopted their own celebrations to give people an authentic experience without having to fly all the way to Germany, with some countries putting their own unique spins on the festival. Some of these include the Brazilian Oktoberfest, where an impressive 700,000 people attend annually, this is probably the biggest international celebration of the festival. “Rocktoberfest” which takes place in Okinawa, Japan and contains the usual German cuisine and beers with an added novelty of rock bands playing throughout. “Oktoberfest Idol” takes place in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada and encourages festival-goers to sing or dance after downing a few beverages, which may lead to a heap of regret the next day.
Oktoberfest is truly a one of a kind experience. If you ever have the chance to visit Munich, make sure you go in mid-September! The festival is easily one of the most grandiose explosions of culture, entertainment and gorgeous cuisine. Just be careful of your alcohol intake or you may be one of many Oktoberfest casualties doomed to spend their days forever face first on the ground.