Oktoberfest – Facts, Tradition, Festivities

Oktoberfest is one of the world’s largest popular festivals. It has been celebrated since 1810 and in over 200 years it has only been cancelled about 20 times, which is the case of Oktoberfest 2021. Needless to say, it is an event not to be missed. Despite its name, this festival takes place at the end of September for 16 to 18 days in Munich, Germany. It is known that the Oktoberfest revolves around beer but there is much more to it than just that; it is a celebration full of culture, atmosphere, food and of course drink.

How did the Oktoberfest begin?

Around the world Oktoberfest is known as the German beer fest, but do you know its history? It all began with the wedding of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Therese of Saxony and Hildburghausen in 1810. The wedding took place on October 12, 1810 and lasted 5 days. The event was held on the Theresienwiese field and the inhabitants of Munich were invited. In honour of the marriage, a big horse race was organized, and the celebration was so successful that they repeated it the following year. Although at the wedding there was certainly plenty of food and drink, beer was not yet the protagonist. It was not until 1818 that beer stands began to be installed to refresh the participants. 

Over the years, the event grew until it was necessary to install tents to meet the demand. Because of the weather in Germany, the Oktoberfest festival is actually held in the last weeks of September but its closing is always in October to maintain the tradition. The Oktoberfest has become so famous and relevant that it is even replicated in countries thousands of miles away. It is an event that has transcended generations and survived wars. This year, because of the pandemic that is sweeping the world, there will be no Oktoberfest 2021, but stay optimistic and start planning your trip for 2022.

What to do at the Oktoberfest?

It is currently held at the Theresienwiese field in Munich. And many of the people who take part choose to dress up in traditional costumes to fully enjoy Oktoberfest. Throughout the weeks of the event, you can enjoy beer and food, but there are also some specific activities. Here is a list of the main ones to give you an idea of the fun you will find: 

  • Ignition parade: the mayor led it and culminated with the opening of the first keg of beer of the festival.
  • Parade in traditional costumes: it lasts about 2 hours and you can appreciate different traditional German costumes.
  • Oktoberfest Tour: Dedicated to more than 1000 children invited by the municipality of Munich.
  • Special lunch: Oktoberfest is for everyone and this lunch is especially for seniors.
  • Family day: Tuesdays are for the family. There are discounts on the rides and some tents.
  • Concerts: Around the Bavarian statue, you can enjoy different bands.
  • Closing of the Oktoberfest: the traditional farewell from the Bavarian Monument. This event marks the closing of the tents and the closure of the festival.

Oktoberfest is the event to enjoy an excellent beer and you will find many tents (beer tents). The most interesting thing is that you can visit it with your friends, your family or even alone. Here are some of the most important tents and what you can find in them.

  • The Schottenhamel Tent, probably the oldest, present since 1867 is one of the most important. This is where the mayor uncaps the first barrel.
  • The Hippodrome Tent welcomes you at the entrance of the Oktoberfest and is arguably the most fashionable tent. It attracts many young people and even celebrities who are not only looking for beer but also Sekt (champagne).
  • The Hofbräu Festzelt tent represents the famous brewery in Munich. In this tent, besides excellent beer, you will find Bavarian folk music bands in traditional costumes.
  • The Augustiner Tent has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and has the favourite local beer. On Tuesdays, there are special prices for children.
  • The Weinzelt – Wine Tent, because it’s not all about beer, offers a superb wine and champagne list. To go with it you will even find Thai snacks.

These are just some of the tents present at the event. The truth is that there are many, and each has its charm and speciality.

How to get to Munich?

If you are in Germany, you only need to take a bus to Munich. If you are travelling from another country, you can rely on Lufthansa express bus for the airport transfer. It is also possible to travel by bus from other nearby countries such as Bulgaria or the Czech Republic, you will find several schedules available with Racic Eurobus. For booking and schedules, you can visit redBus.com. Once in Munich, the best way to get to the Theresienwiese camp is by public transport. We do not recommend you to go by car as parking is scarce.

A few tips for the Oktoberfest

  • Remember that the Oktoberfest starts in September.
  • It is unnecessary to buy tickets, the entrance to the event is free.
  • Think about bringing cash because not all tents accept credit cards.
  • If you want to visit a specific tent, you can reserve a table in advance to guarantee your place.
  • On Tuesdays, there are discounts for families.
  • Book your hotel in advance and try to get a room close to the event.
  • Attend at least two days of the event. They don’t have to be consecutive, but there is so much to see that one day will not be enough.
  • Take the opportunity to visit Munich. 

The Oktoberfest is an event that should be part of your bucket list. It is a unique event that has preserved the Bavarian tradition for more than 200 years. And we are sure the amazing beer has a lot to do with its success!

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