Beer, beer, and beer.
Those are three of the more popular things Oktoberfest is known for. Well, pork knuckles, wurst, pretzels, leather pants and nice looking women are on the list, too.
What I did not realise, or even consider to be honest, is how much else there is going on at this place. You could spend a whole day walking around trying out the different rides and eating food and not even make your way in to a tent for a beer, although that would make you a heathen, and nobody wants to be a heathen.
Everyone knows what Oktoberfest is. Typically, over 6 million people will visit the festival every year, which actually ends on the first weekend of October. This year, I think the numbers were down slightly (recent terror attacks) but the place was still heaving.
One should not go to Oktoberfest without dressing in traditional German Lederhosen, or Dirndl if one is female (although I did witness several cross dressers). It’s not that you don’t get let in, it’s that you don’t fit in and it isn’t as fun. If you’re going to do it, do it right, right? I hired mine (from here) with ease the day we went, so you can rock the genuine deal without investing a couple of hundred Euros too.
In case you didn’t know, Oktoberfest is free to enter, but don’t be fooled into thinking that means it’s not an expensive day out. Obviously it depends on how much you drink and how much you spend on rides, but here’s an indication of how much things cost, this year (2016), in Euros. Prices go up very slightly each year.
Beer (1 Litre): 10.60 / 12.
Pork Knuckle: 20
1 Litre Stein Souvenir: 38
A decent ride (roller-coaster, etc): 7
A pretzel: 5.20 / 7.
You’ll notice I’ve got two prices for the beer and pretzels. You want to tip the girls bringing the beer, firstly because they’re very nice to look at and secondly because you want them coming back to your table regularly to replenish your supplies (you can’t order beer unless you’re at a table). In regards to the pretzels, the girls bringing them around are usually also very lovely and so you don’t want to be a stingy cunt. Ben agrees.
The pretzels aren’t small!
As mentioned above, you can’t order beer unless you’re at a table, which brings me to another point: getting a table. In most tents, especially the busier ones, you won’t have a shit-show of getting on to a table after around 4pm unless you have one reserved, which isn’t an easy or necessarily cheap process. That’s OK, though, get there late morning and if you’re anything like all of us lightweights you won’t make it much past 4pm anyway. No worries.
All of it, tents and buildings included, gets set up every year for Oktoberfest. It takes 2-3 months.
You’ll see the chap in the photo above standing up. If you stand up and gather attention, everyone cheers and throws stuff at you while you chug all of your beer. Unfortunately, security has a habit of turfing out those who partake in this game, presumably because it’s a good indication you’re not going to make it through the next hour, or there’s potential for a good old fashioned riot. Who knows. Party-Poopers.
You have one choice in the size of beer, also. 1 litre. Nothing bigger, nothing smaller. Another thing worth noting is that all the beer is from Munich, and brewed specially for Oktoberfest. It’s also often stronger than usual, which would have been good knowing before we dug in at a typical pace on the first day.
DEFINITELY do loads of rides, there are some quality ones around. They’re not all cheap but it’s good fun. Let the beers settle first though. Maybe.
Rob and I somehow made it to around 10pm on the second night of being there, and got to witness a bunch of Germans whip-cracking in time with the music in one of the tents.
I only attended the festival for two days, which was enough for me, especially as we had just nailed Ibiza. A few of us spent a day checking out Munich and chilling out for a bit before all parting ways. It was a completely rad few days, and I’m 100% stoked that I ticked off Oktoberfest with a group of GC’s. Proost!