Top Ten Things You Should Know about Oktoberfest

It's Oktoberfest - the month-long appreciation of beer, bratwurst and Bavaria. It is said that Usain Bolt and Meryl Streep are already in town and enjoying the festivities. Keen to join them? Here are 10 things you should know about Oktoberfest.


Where does the Oktoberfest happen?

The Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, Germany, on the famous "Theresienwiese", which is also called "Festwiese" by the locals. The big tents are erected during the summer. The construction starts in June and takes about three months to be completed, just in time for the opening ceremony of the Fest.

Oktoberfest Began as a Marriage Feast

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, as a wedding feast honouring the union of Bavarian King Ludwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia. The royal shindig took place at the Theresienwiese (Theresia meadow) where it continues to be held today.


It's a Proper Barvarian Pig-Out

Think giant soft pretzels, dumplings, cheese noodles, sausages and roast chicken—and lots of them. Every year, Oktoberfest revellers eat over 500,000 roast chicken and roughly 120,000 pairs of pork sausages. Last year, in just 17 days, 118 oxen and 53 calves were consumed.

Oktoberfest food

The Munich party isn’t the only Oktoberfest big on food. In Cincinnati, Ohio, at the largest Oktoberfest in the United States, organizers hold a yearly Bratwurst Eating Championship.


You Can Be Banned

Oktoberfest authorities have not been shy about banning guests particularly  those they say “cheapen” the event.

Paris Hilton; in 2006, the socialite heiress arrived at the Oktoberfest grounds clad in a traditional Bavarian dirndl to promote a regional brand of canned wine. (The Oktoberfest grounds do also offer a wine tent.) Locals cried out against the profiting damsel-in-their-dress and Hilton was subsequently banned from the event.


General etiquette tips?

·         Don’t be rude, especially not to the girls. This can get you faster out of a tent than you can say "hey!". So, you should know your limits and (try to) not drink too much.

·         Be early at the fest, ideally before 4 pm, to catch a nice place.

·         Do not dance on the tables. Never ever. This is a hard rule. You may dance on the benches for as long as you wish, but do not step on the tables. This might get you removed from the tent really fast. For tables located in the first floor, there may be restrictions to prevent people from falling over the balcony.

·         Do not wear silly Oktoberfest hats. You will really look like a tourist.ral etiquette tips?



It might not be the German experience you think it’ll be

While the historical Oktoberfest was based upon German traditions and emphasized the regional culture, it has morphed into more of an international party fest. Visiting on weekdays will provide a much more authentic German experience, where you’ll see a higher local to foreigner ratio than on the weekends. Many Germans avoid the festival’s peak times (with the exception of the younger generations – beer drinking age is 16) as mass binge drinking – and all that goes with it – isn’t common in their culture. On a pleasant day, the beer gardens will usually be more locally oriented than inside the tents where you may be so lucky as to encounter lederhosen clad children and homemade picnics being shared amongst a table. The tent you choose will also impact how ‘German’ your experience is. Paulaner, Löwenbräu and Augustiner tents are where you are most likely to hear more native German than any other languages.


Go with the flow

So your Oktoberfest experience isn’t working out as you want it to. Keep it chill and don’t have super high expectations – we do afterall all know that the best events and moments in our lives are the ones not planned and easy going. Trains delyas, being in the wrong tent etc may all be part and parcel of the event but like we said go with the flow.

Dress the part

The majority of non-Bavarian visitors wouldn’t give their non-conformist outfits a second thought but nowadays, you will see the typical Bavarian dress widely on display at this festival, not particularly because of its lengthy tradition, but also due to its recent resurgence in popularity, especially amongst younger generations. First time Bavarian visitors are also increasingly dressed in the traditional garb, getting more into the festivities as a result.

Oktoberfest Fancy Dress

For guys, lederhosen is the standard attire and comes in many iterations ranging from the expensive (suede) to the more affordable (cloth). If you don’t want to shell out for the real deal, at least try to incorporate the synonymous checkered shirt. For the girls, the dress is called a dirndl and it gives the wearer that whole ‘beer wench’ look. The dirndl comprises the dress and apron and can be found in a magnitude of colours and patterns but don’t forget to pick up the pouffy white top worn underneath. Lederhosen and dirndls can be found all over Munich leading up to and during the festival.


Expect a LOT of people to be in attendance

Tents can hold up to 10,000 people. You may be tempted to get a better vantage point, to find your friends or capture the moment with a photo. Standing or dancing on benches is fairly common, but climbing onto the table will get you tossed.


There's an App for That

It may be 202 years old, but you’ll find this Bavarian party is very new millennium. Within two days of this year’s festival start, the official Oktoberfest app had more than 75,000 downloads and for good reason: users can input their height, weight and the amount of beers they drank to receive an estimate of their blood alcohol content and how long it will take them to sober up.

Oktoberfest App

Those looking to meet someone can connect with nearby singles through the "Wiesn flirt and find" app, then wow their love-interest with a word-for-word knowledge of Oktoberfest beer songs. Should an iMeetup fail, there’s always the simulation game that allows you to run a beerfest tent all on your own.


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