Although I’ve been to Oktoberfest for the past two years, what I found out this time is that it’s not really Oktoberfest unless you manage to get inside the tents.
The first time me and my Canadian and British friends went, we were inexperienced and had no idea what you were really suppose to do. We went into a few tents, got kicked out, but managed to eventually get a table outside a tent, where we were able to order a few beers, so our endeavours (including a crazy five hour train ride to Munich) weren’t totally wasted.
The second time around, I went with my German friends who were living in Munich, but that time was even more unsuccessful because it was pouring that day and we got there too late. We waited in line outside one of the tents, and noticed an hour later that the line hasn’t moved at all. In the end, Yann bought me a lebkuchenherz (it said Prinzessin and I still have it hanging up in my apartment) and we all ended up at the Hofbrauhaus instead (it’s pretty much the same thing right?!)
Finally this year, with my same German friends who were determined to get into a tent, we finally figured out that the secret to getting inside is to actually wake up super early. We woke up at 6:30 am, made it down to the Theresienwiese (many Germans refer to Oktoberfest as Wies’n, which comes from this name) by 8am, and were inside and drinking by 9am.
It actually wasn’t that difficult, considering all the horror stories I’ve heard about having to reserve a year in advance.
Ok sure, I was barely awake (especially with my jet lag) for the first couple hours and drinking anything other than tea so early in the morning seemed like a horribly daunting task BUT by afternoon, everything was great and lively! (And a lot of people were already far too drunk! – only at Oktoberfest!)
For those who have never been to Oktoberfest, here’s some facts and tips!
More than 6 million people attend Oktoberfest every year! No wonder you have to get up so early to get a spot!
While there’s no entrance fee into the tents, food and drinks inside the tent can be pretty pricey (at least by typical German standards).
Oktoberfest brings in about 1 billion euros to the city of Munich!
Beer is served only in litres (called a Maß in German) – it’s not called the world’s biggest beer festival for no reason! The prices do rise a little every year. This year, they were 9.90 euros, although you’re always expected to give 11 euros which includes a tip.
One thing we noticed too is that they don’t fill up the beer glasses as much as the day progresses (but at that point who’s paying attention right?)…apparantly in 2013, a city official checked and noted that only about one in three of these beer glasses are actually filled all the way up
Apparently, some Oktoberfest workers can make up to 15,000 euros from this 16-17 day festival!
Did you know that Albert Einstein worked at the Oktoberfest in 1896?
Apparently tons of people have tried to smuggle their beer glasses out of the tents since they make for a nice souvenir. However, if you get caught there’s a fine, so it’s much safer to purchase a souvenir glass instead.
The original Oktoberfest actually wasn’t a beer festival but an anniversary celebration of Prince Ludwig’s wedding.
If there’s one song to learn at Oktoberfest, it’s the Ein Prosit song. It’s sung every 20 minutes or so (you end up learning it pretty fast) and you’re expected to toast and chug your beer at the end of the song!
It goes like this:
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
OANS ZWOA DREI! G’SUFFA!
And of course, everyone dresses up for Oktoberfest in Lederhosen and Dirndl. Ok, I didn’t the first two times I went, but I made sure to this time.
Did you know that how you tie your Dirndl apron determines your relationship status?
A knot on the left side – single
On the right – married, engaged or in a relationship
On the front centre – virgin
On the back – widowed.
As you can imagine too the line ups for the washrooms can get crazy long! At one point, I think it took all of us an average of 20-30 mins to wait in line! Don’t get caught urinating in public though since there’s a 100 euro fine! (that’s 10 beers you could buy!)
For the people arriving late to the Oktoberfest, there are apparently over 100 Oktoberfest related apps that tell you which tents are currently less crowded (and also which has the cheapest beer!)
Have you guys been to the Oktoberfest? What are your favourite memories?