Prost! Prost! Prost!
I’m just coming back off an insanely amazing trip throughout Europe. Pete and I backpacked for ten days and went to Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. It was a fun (and exhausting) trip.
Our first stop in Europe was to Munich, Germany. We were here for one reason and one reason only and that was to go to Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is a magical time of the year in Munich where everyone comes together to drink for roughly 3 weeks. This year was the 183rd Oktoberfest and 5.6 Million people showed up over the course of 17 days.
HISTORY OF OKTOBERFEST
Sure, Oktoberfest might just seem like a big drinking festival, but there is actual history behind this event.
According to ofest.com, “Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were renamed Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s Fields”) to honor the Crown Princess, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to “Wiesn”. Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in subsequent years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.”
There are 14 big tents and 20 small tents on the fairgrounds that you can chose to go to (there is even a wine tent!)
Our flight did not get us into Munich until the afternoon, so we decided to wait until the morning crowd was too drunk to drink anymore and then head into the Wiesn fairgrounds. We settled down at the Hacker tent. As soon as we walked in, we were instantly greeted music and cheers as we saw people fully dressed up in dirndls and lederhosen dancing on benches and singing along to traditional German songs.
We called it an early night so that we could be properly rested and up early to try and get into the Hofbräu tent the next day.
Here are some tips I picked up on how to get into the tent of your choice:
- Get there early. Being early is key. People we start lining up 1-3 hours before the tents even open to ensure that they get a seat at a table.
- Reserve a table ahead of time. If you have 10 people you can pay a certain amount (price varies by tent) to reserve the table for you and your crew. Sometimes the price to reserve the table comes with food as well!
- Send someone in early to reserve a spot. I can’t guarantee that they’ll be able to hold the table down but if they’re a good friend they’ll try their hardest.
IN THE TENTS
We did not have a reserved table and unless you are seated in a tent, you cannot get served (you can see why people line up so early). We got a table at 9am and spent the entire day drinking, eating, making new friends, singing and dancing. Pete and I had to bail out at 4:30pm where we then spent another hour being happy drunks walking around the fairgrounds while eating bratwurst and french fries with mayo.
Do not try to leave the tent with your mug either! This year 96,000 (yes, you read that right) people were stopped trying to take mugs out of the tents.
My 5 tips to getting the most out of Oktoberfest:
- Get in line early to make sure you get a table in the tent you want.
- Make sure you eat while you’re drinking. You can totally forget because the beer is pretty heavy but eating is key. (I highly suggest you get a chicken. Best. Chicken. Ever.)
- DRESS UP! You may feel silly at first but everyone is dressed up and it’s those who wear standard clothes that look out of place. It also makes it feel like a more authentic experience.
- Definitely sing and definitely dance to all of the songs that come on. Some tents have a live band that play traditional music and some have top 40 music playing. Either way, sing and dance all day.
- Drink tons of beer. So self explanatory but lots of beer and get drunk and have even more fun. (If you don’t drink beer I would say don’t even go to Oktoberfest. Sorry).
- Enjoy the day. I know there is the tendency to want to be on your phone recording everything but you miss out when you’re doing that. I have very few photos from Oktoberfest but that’s because I was singing and dancing and make friends with people. Pete and I met people from Australia, Los Angeles and Germany. I’m sure we’ll remember the people we met over anything else.
Fun Fact: 680 pieces of clothing, 660 wallets, 580 passports, 410 (smart)phones, 250 glasses, 220 keys, 90 bags and purses, 55 umbrellas and canes, 55 pieces of jewelry and watches and 15 cameras were all turned in to the lost and found this year