The 16-day beer-soaked revelry – Oktoberfest – ended with a bang on October 5. The event was attended by over 6.5 million beer-lovers who consumed nearly 1.7 million gallons of beer.
At 12 noon dot on September 21, Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first barrel, declaring the “Wiesn” – as people in Munich call it – officially open, that ran until October 5.
Around 6.5 million of beer drinkers from around the world came to the Bavarian capital to consume approximately 1.7 million gallons of beer during the two-week long festival in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. The opening day of the festival was marked by a colourful parade of carriages, floats and people in a variety of costumes winding through the streets of Munich.
Oktoberfest takes place in beer solid tents with colourful façades, long wooden tables and benches. Some can hold up to 10,000 visitors. This year, there were 14 tents and two were newcomers: the Marstall, successor to the Hippodrom that had a horsey theme and seating for up to 3,500 inside and 900 in the garden outside. The other newcomer was the Kalbsbraterei tent. The emphasis here was on adding a gourmet food element to the beer-drinking experience, with roasted veal dishes, a particular speciality.
A place for family
Believe it or not, the Oktoberfest was a family affair – with lots of fairground attractions such as merry-go-rounds, the Olympia Loop ride, a Star Flyer, candyfloss stalls and shooting galleries. Most tents offered traditional Bavarian music, the thigh-slapping thataccompanied wasvoluntary. Bands such as Bodo’s were some of the live entertainment at the event.
Best time to go
So if you are planning to go next year, keep in mind – general hours are 1000hrs to 2230hrs while from 900hrs on Saturdays and Sundays. It is pretty packed on the weekends; many locals prefer to pop in during the week.
Dress up matters!
Lederhosen for men and Dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress with full skirt, apron and tight bodice) for women are compulsory. Not really – but it is nice to see Bavarians making the effort. There are several shops in town that specialise in such gear, if the visitors want to join in.
It’s Oktoberfest, then why in September?
If the celebration is named Oktoberfest, why does it start in September? The first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The celebration ran through October 17, concluding with a horse race. As the Oktoberfest celebrations were repeated year after year, it was later extended and moved to the last weeks of September to allow festival-goers to enjoy the warmer weather outside the beer tents. This year marked the 181st anniversary.
Eventually, the 16 day beer-soaked revelry came to an end with traditional gun salute that marked the end of Munich’s annual Oktoberfest with a bang.