Oktoberfest is probably Germany’s biggest carnival of the year fuelled with live bands, dressed up enthusiasts and a bazillion litres of beer!
It’s a common understanding that Oktoberfest is only and all about the beer. Well, that isn’t exactly true. The 2 week long party sees people all over Germany converge in Munich, dressed in the traditional Lederhosen for men and Drindl for women. This year, the mega festival is slated to start on September 17th and will go on to October 3rd!
We’ve made a list of all the essential tips you need to survive the festival and make the most of it in your drunken state!
1. Dress for the part, seriously!
Lederhosen for the guys and Drindls for the girls. These outfits are sold all over Munich before the festival begins. Buying a pair might actually burn a hole in your pocket so a better idea would be to get a second hand outfit on rent for the period of the festival. You can be assured that if you go with the choice of not dressing up, you will feel like an outcast when you go drinking in the tents.
2. Get inside the tents and grab a seat for the best experience
There are 14 main tents all over the festival grounds. Each of these tents have a seating capacity of over 1000-8,500 depending on the size of the tents. Each tent is unique in its own way, but sticking to one tent would probably be the best idea because of the crowd and demand for seats all over.
3. Beer, beer and more beer.
The standard size of a beer at Oktoberfest is one litre and costs 10 Euros. The beer is served in a huge glass called a “Stein”. All the beer served comes from six Munich breweries and is widely held as some of the best beer in the world. Remember to shout “Prost”(cheers) before chugging a sip of the foamy deliciousness. It is also considered customary to look your friends in the eye when drinking. The beers served are known to have a higher alcohol content, so they really pack in a punch and 2-3 glasses can make the experienced drinker tipsy too!
4. You need to be sitting to order a beer.
In order to get the attention of any server, you need to navigate the humongous crowd and manage to find a seat in order to get a beer. Visiting on weekdays might increase your chances of snagging a seat. If you’re planning on attending with a huge group of friends, it is advisable to make reservations way ahead. Be polite to people around and you might get offered a seat or two if you’re lucky enough.
5. Bring lots of cash and tip your waiters
Out of the 14 tents, very few tents actually accept credit cards; and it would be a huge risk to play that game. The ATM’s inside the grounds are almost always held up with huge lines. So it would be wise to get enough cash to last the day and not be a nuisance to the waiters too. Also, tip your waiters. You DEFINITELY want to be on their good side. They carry around 10 mugs in a single round of serving people. The least you could do is tip them a little for their hard work and get noticed. You’ll just end up getting quicker service. It’s a win-win for everybody.
6. Soak up the beer with some traditional German delicacies
Oktoberfest, apart from the beer, is known for the huge variety of food that is dished out in massive numbers to chow down with the beer. Make sure you dig into some of the most traditional German dishes which include pretzels, roast chicken, pork knuckles, sausages and egg noodles. If you happen to be a vegetarian, don’t worry. With the recent changes in eating habits all over the world, the festival has started to recognise the needs for more veg options and has introduced some meat-free options as well.
7. Give a listen to the Bavarian Brass Bands!
The Bavarian brass bands provide the ultimate setting for the grand scale of the festival. The bands, which parade through the street, make people inside the tents get up on the tables and dance around. It’s not long before everyone joins in and the whole tent becomes a huge dance party. Popular drinking songs include the repetitive ‘Ein Prosit’ and ‘Fliegerlied’. It might help to learn a few crowd favourites before heading to the festival as you don’t want to be the only one sitting quietly when the whole crowd has erupted in unison.
8. Check out the fun-filled fair and rides
Okay, so this should probably be a pre-activity before the drinking has started. For obvious reasons. Oktoberfest has always been more than just about the beer. The whole area is a carnival, complete with giant roller coasters, ferris wheels and vendors with small arcade games. The whole area is open for kids as well as adults to come and take a break from all the beer guzzling. Get your dose of entertainment here!
9. Put your foot on the table and chug an entire beer
One of the many famous traditions at the festival is when someone puts their foot on the table. It is indication that they are about to chug an entire litre of beer in one go. Keep in mind that this is not an easy task. Once the foot is on the table you can’t back out. The crowd will cheer you on in your effort and if you do back out, be ready for harsh booing from almost everyone in the crowd. If you succeed, the feeling of triumph is something else!
10. Pace out your drinking.
The most common mistake is getting carried away and drinking too much and tapping out early. The festivities at the Oktoberfest are in play well throughout the day and you don’t want to miss that. Pace yourself and survive the day. After all, you didn’t make the trip to Germany just to get wasted in a couple of hours right?
Oktoberfest is the coming together of booze, people, food, culture and colour. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can’t be explained but has to be experienced personally to get a whiff of the madness. September 17th to October 3rd are the dates you don’t want to miss!