Are you ready for beer and the best of Bavarian culture? You can’t miss Oktoberfest if you are traveling to Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Make it a family day and choose the most fun tent to spend the celebration in.
But if it’s your first time, you may want to check out what to expect from this jam-packed event so you can have a truly memorable experience. Here are the things you need to know about Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest Wasn’t Always About Beer
Oktoberfest, the annual festival in Munich, started on October 12, 1810. It is held over a two-week period and ends on the first Sunday of October to commemorate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria (King Louis I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival, in its early beginnings, featured a horse race, which was eventually combined with an agricultural fair. It was only in 1818 when the booths at the festival served food and drinks. These booths had developed into large beer halls made of plywood by the last 20th century. The mayor of Munich will tap the first keg to kickstart the festival.
Oktoberfest Events and Activities
Munich brewers set up temporary structures or tents with seating capacities of 6,000 or more. The breweries are featured in parades of beer wagons and floats and around them are people in folk costumes. Oktoberfest may be known for beer drinking but it is also a family day in Munich because participants can enjoy different types of entertainment, such as amusement rides and games, music, and dancing. Oktoberfest attracts more than six million people each year, including tourists.
You may want to plan before you go to Oktoberfest because only 120,000 seats are usually available, and there are over 600,000 visitors a day on average. There are different kinds of tents you can choose from during Oktoberfest. These tents serve different kinds of beer and their prices vary. But you must make reservations. You can start booking your tables 6-12 months ahead of time, though each tent is required to keep some tables available to the public on a first-come-first-served basis.
To make reservations, check out the official list of small and big Oktoberfest tents here. If you will walk in for the open spots, you are encouraged to fall in line as early as 5-6 AM on weekends or by noon to 2 PM on weekdays.
Most Popular Oktoberfest Tents
The largest and most popular tent for tourists during Oktoberfest is Hofbräu Tent (Festzelt). It has nearly 10,000 seats and sells over 750,000 liters of beer. The tent appeals to the largest percentage of international visitors at Oktoberfest, which can accommodate as high as 30% international visitors in some days.
Another highly anticipated tent during Oktoberfest is the Shooters’ Tent (Schützen Feszelt). It is known for its red, green, and yellow garland and amazing music. In fact, the tent got the attention of celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Usain Bolt.
What To Wear at Oktoberfest
Women usually wear a dirndl (made up of a blouse, bodice and apron) while men lederhosen (leather pants with checkered shirts and maybe a vest and a hat).
Beers Served at Oktoberfest
While Oktoberfest beers are expected to be special, the selection is not that varied and complex. The regulars are Helles (light beer), Dunkel (dark beer), Radler (half helles, half fizzy lemon soda), Hefeweizen (wheat beer), and some alcohol-free ones. If you don’t drink, there are soft drinks, water, and juice available in the event.
What You Can Eat during Oktoberfest
Drinking or not, you need to eat something during Oktoberfest. The foods available in the event range from local favorites to quintessential German dishes. You can enjoy Weisswurst (sausage), roasted pork knuckle, brezen (pretzels), macaroni and cheese, steckerlfisch (seafood), schweinshaxe or schweinebraten (roast pork butt or shoulder), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), and Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage).
If you plan to know about Munich, the city where Oktoberfest is held, more, you can embark on a Munich City Hop-on Hop-off Tour and see all the amazing attractions before or after the event.