Bottoms up at the Oktoberfest in Munich

Bottoms up at the Oktoberfest in Munich
Photo Credit: Ethan Prater

As the crowd shouts --O--zapft is� after the mayor, the world--s biggest beer festival starts flowing. Here is our quick guide to the event starting on September 19, 2015, including the best beer tents to head to.

Uttara Gangopadhyay
September 16 , 2015
05 Min Read

What is Oktoberfest?
According to Wikipedia, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling fun fair). It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. At the beer festival, there will be several large beer tents, often sponsored by the breweries, and beer gardens, where you can drink the Festbier or the beer specially prepared for the season. There will also be food stalls, games, merchandise on sale, costume parades, etc. Munich’s Oktoberfest draws visitors from around the globe. Apparently, people consume 5 million litres of beer at the festival alone.

Why is Oktoberfest held in September?
The first Oktoberfest (October 12-17, 1810) was held to celebrate the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Soon, it turned into a popular annual festival.  The organisers realised that by moving up the festival to September they can draw a lot more visitors.  The warm September nights were the perfect time to enjoy the gardens outside the beer tents or take a stroll in the die Wiesen or the fields. So, although it is called Oktoberfest, it begins in September. But the last weekend of the festival falls in October.

What is die Wiesen?

The people of Munich refer to Oktoberfest as die Wiesn because of its location, Theresienwiese, which was named after Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

When is Oktoberfest in 2015?
The festival will be held from September 19 to October 4, 2015. The official inauguration will take place at the Schottenhamel tent with Mayor of Munich tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Then visitors will get their turn at the tap. The inauguration will take place at noon; so arrive early to take your place in the tent.

What about the beer tents?
Entry to beer tents is free. Usually, you do not require a reservation to enter a tent but the tents fill up fast and there may be restrictions for crowd controlling. Overfilling may also lead to tents closing early. Therefore, many tents do prefer reservations. Every tent has its unique musical offering.

Which are the more popular beer tents?
There are 14 big and 20 small tents in this year’s festival. Here is a glimpse into the range on offer. The very traditional Schottenhamel tent is obviously the most important as the inauguration is held here; it is sponsored by the Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu brewery. It dates back to 1867 when it was a mere booth with 50 seats. It is said that celebrities rarely miss visiting the Käfer's Wies’n-Schänke. The Augustiner-Festhalle has earned the accolade of being the friendliest tent out here. You will know you have arrived at the Spaten-brewery’s Ochsenbraterei when you can see the ox slowly turning on the spit near the entrance; a whole range of ox-based dishes await you inside. Or, if you are looking something a little more adventurous, try the Fischer Vroni tent where you can lazily munch on a grilled ‘fish on stick’. The Paulener Brewery sponsored Armbrustschützen or the Bull’s Eye tent is where you will find an ongoing crossbow competition being cheered by the enthusiasts. One of the smaller tents, though easy to find because of its giant stove shape, the Münchner Knödelei, serves a variety of dumplings.

What are other highlights of Oktoberfest?
A number of events are held during the Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade is held on the first Sunday of the festival. There will be a Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Oktoberfest Mass, the "Böllerschießen" (a handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue, etc. In 2015, there will be an agricultural festival. Original Motodrom to be held at the Oide Wiesn will showcase some daring motorcycle driving skills. If that is not enough, scare yourself at the Daemonium as you walk through creepy scenes along the four-level show.

Can I visit Oktoberfest on a package tour from India?
Yes, there are several travel agencies who offer special packages during this period. The Backpacker Co offers a special package for Oktoberfest. You can also check with Veenaworld for their European packages operated during this time.


good post, thanks
shan s October 28 , 2020

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