The world’s largest beer festival is held every year at the end of September and the beginning of October at the fairgrounds of Theresienwiese in Munich. More than 6 million people from all over the world visit the festival which was first held in 1810. At that time the Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. A horse race 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 fields where the horse race took place were named Theresienwiese (Theresa’s meadow) and they have kept that name ever since. Today locals have abbreviated the name and call the festival “Wiesn”.
Food and drink
Munich breweries Spatenbräu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu have tents at the festival and produce the special Oktoberfest beer which has an aromatic taste and more alcohol than normal beer. It is served in big beer bugs of about 1 liter volume.
Apart from the beer also traditional Bavarian cuisine is served in the tents. Very famous is the “Hendel” a roasted chicken served with an oversize pretzl.
Besides the beer tents there are a lot of other attractions at Oktoberfest: A big wheel from which one has a stunning view over Munich and the Alpes, many fair rides, shooting galleries and other amusements.
Since the 200 year anniversary in 2010 one part of the festival is dedicated to the historic Oktoberfest. Historic carousels, tents and other attraction from past ages are presented. Even a special beer is served that is brewed collaboratively by all Munich breweries.
Every year the beer festival is opened with the entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries headed by the Münchner Kindel (Munich child – symbol on the coat of arms of the city of Munich)and the Munich’s lord mayor that cross the city towards Theresienwiese. At 12 noon the lord mayor will tap the first beer barrel. When he shouts “O’zapft is!“ (It is tapped!), the festival is opened.
Tents at Oktoberfest are open every day from 10 a.m. until 11.30 p.m. At weekends the tents will be open at 9.00 a.m. The last beer can be ordered at 10.30 p.m.
Locals like to wear the traditional dress, Dirndl and Lederhosen, when they visit the festival.
Reservations and how to get there
Because of the many visitors we advise you to use public transports or taxis to get to Theresienwiese. Especially at weekends it won’t be easy to get a seat in one of the tents without a reservation. Therefore many people reserve a year in advance. As it got more and more difficult to find seats in the tents it was decided in 2013 that the tents have to provide free seats every day. But often people are waiting from 09:00 to 11:00 to get in and get a seat.
* 1) Photo: By uk:Користувач:Gutsul (uk:Зображення:Oktoberfest bierzelt.JPG) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Airview of the Oktoberfest