oktoberfest, beer, woman-3725638.jpg

Oktoberfest

A few years back Dani and I travelled to the Christmas markets in Munich.  Whilst it was bitterly cold we really enjoyed ourselves.  There are so many beautiful Christmas decorations on offer I really could have spent an absolute fortune!  The food is incredible too and whilst I’m not overly keen on hot dogs the ones in the markets were on another level.  Dani was in absolute heaven!  Hot dogs and beer, what’s not to like in his opinion.  After this experience, Oktoberfest was added to Dani’s travel bucket list. This year, the Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich will take place between September 16th and October 3rd.  But what exactly is Oktoberfest? Origins Oktoberfest as we know is a celebration of Bavarian culture, featuring food, beer, traditional music and dancing.  It stems from similar origins when on October 12th 1810 the whole Munich  was invited to join in the celebration of the nuptials between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.  The wedding festivities included a large feast and concluded with horse races which proved so popular they became an annual tradition. Where Will Oktoberfest 2023 Take Place? Today, Oktoberfest is celebrated worldwide.  Cities like Cincinnati, Ohio, and Blumenau, Brazil, hold grand Oktoberfest events.  Even our little Gibraltar joins in the celebrations by showcasing authentic German customs, food, and beer. The original Oktoberfest festivities however take place annually at the Theresienwiese, a huge open area of some 42 hectares which will host around 120,000 seats in 17 different festival halls. Opening Times Tents will open at 9am on the first Saturday of the festival with non-alcoholic drinks being served from 10am.   No beer will be served before this until 12 pm when the mayor shouts “Ozapft is” (meaning “it’s tapped”).  It is this ritual of the tapping of the first beer barrel that marks the official opening of the festival. Weekday opening times are 10 am to 11.30pm and on Saturday, Sundays and public holidays, beer is served from 9am to 11.30pm. Partygoers who want to celebrate for longer should check out the Käfer tent or Kufflers (which serves wheat beer and a large selection of wine).  Both of these close at the later time of 1 a.m. with the last call being at 12.30 am. Please note that some small tents will have slightly earlier closing times (10.30pm or 11.00pm) so be sure to check beforehand.   There is no fee for admission to the Theresienwiese or to the tents however, should you want access to the Oide Wiesen (situated on the south side of the venue) there is an entry fee of 4.00€. When Is The Best Time To Visit? Around six million people visit the festival every year so it is usually busy throughout.  However, check out this barometer when planning your visit to try and minimise wait times.  This barometer shows how busy the Wiesn is expected to be every day and provides an indication only. Events The Oktoberfest festivities kick off with the landlord parade followed by a traditional costume parade.  This is a hugely popular part of the celebrations with over 9,000 participants marching from Maximilianstrasse to Theresienwiese during last year’s festivities. Stands are erected throughout the parade route for spectators to enjoy the show.  Please be aware that although seats are available (prices start from 35.00€) these are not numbered and are available on a first come first served basis. Details about the route, stand locations and ticket prices can be found here.  Oktoberfest Attractions The Munich Oktoberfest has fun activities for adults and children alike. Carousels, water rides, roller coasters, ghost trains, free-fall rides and fun houses.  Ride prices typically range from 3.50€ to 12.00€.   More information on this year’s rides and prices can be found here.  Other than the rides you can also enjoy the booths around the festival.  These include a  photo booth called “Be Marilyn” where you can recreate Marilyn Monroe’s famous white skirt moment from the movie The Seven Year Itch.  If showing off your strength is more your thing, why not try your hand at the strong man challenge at Han Den Lukas? And if shopping is your thing, there are plenty of opportunities to take home a souvenir.  Take your pick from gingerbread hearts (Lebkunchenhez), steins, clothespins,  bird whistles and much much more. Family Time Whilst perhaps not an event that you would typically think of enjoying en famille, there are family-friendly activities at Oktoberfest. The Familienplatzl, located on Street 3/East provides benches and tables where families can relax.  There is also a place to store strollers (at a fee of 3€ and note also that strollers are not permitted in the Wiesen on Saturdays), a separate children’s toilet and a microwave to heat up baby food.  There are also some rides, playing booths and a theatre which shows puppet shows several times a day within the Familienplatzl. You are also permitted to bring your own food to the Familienplatzl to enjoy with a beer purchased at the beer gardens. The official Oktoberfest website recommends visiting during the morning or early afternoon if visiting with children and you should note that there are various age restrictions in place with regards to children: Getting Around The nearest underground stations are Theresienwiese, Bavariaring and Schwanthalerhöhe.  The closest S-Bahn station to the venue is Hackerbrücke  For more information on using public transport during the Oktoberfest festivities, click here. Can’t get to Munich? If your town or city does not join in the Oktoberfest celebrations and you cannot get to Germany to celebrate, why not plan your own Oktoberfest party at home?  It’s easier than you think and you are guaranteed to have a great time. Decorations Transform your home into a Bavarian beer garden with blue and white colours, chequered tablecloths, and banners of German flags. Utilise beer steins, pretzel garlands, and Oktoberfest-themed centrepieces to set the mood.  This party pack would be absolutely perfect for setting the scene.   The pack brings three different banner bunting, a

Oktoberfest Read More »