5 Reasons to Plan a Trip to Oktoberfest
The TraditionOktoberfest began with the wedding of Bavarian Prince Ludwig to princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The celebration was so much fun it was repeated at the same time the following year, marking the birth of the “October-festivals”. Today, Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, attracting more than 6 million visitors. Continuing a long-established tradition, the first keg is tapped by the Mayor of Munich, and the first beer is given to the Minister-President of Bavaria. The dress also makes Oktoberfest what it is- Dirndl and Lederhosen are everywhere. It’s not mandatory to wear traditional Bavarian clothing, but it is one of the best parts of the festival. PS. Locals don’t call it Oktoberfest, they refer to it as “Wiesn”, which stems from the festival’s history. 😉
The Decor & Entertainment
Each tent at Oktoberfest has its own character. We loved going tent-to-tent one morning and checking out the range of decor, all of the decorations are connected to Bavarian history and culture.
Each tent also has a lively traditional band in the center of it, which usually alternates German drinking songs and pop classics throughout the day (music selection depends on which tent you’re seated in).
On the weekends, the tents are known close early as a result of overcrowding. We went on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Wednesday, we had no problem getting into tents- although, unreserved seats became more challenging to find after 5 pm. On Friday however, we arrived at noon and were surprised to find the tents already packed- would definitely go early morning if you’re there on a Saturday or Sunday.
Aside from tent decor, Oktoberfest also has a large number of carnival rides. Whether you take a spin on the Ferris Wheel or take on one of the more thrilling options, you’re sure to have a fun time.
While planning our trip, a lot of people warned me I’d have a hard time finding good eats at Oktoberfest as a vegetarian. If you come to the festival expecting to adhere to any kind of diet (vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten-Free, etc.), chances are you’re going to have a tough time. But, if you come and just try to enjoy it for what it is, you’ll be fine. I had cheese spaetzle and pretzels for all of my Oktoberfest meals and loved it. And, most of the menus had a number of other vegetarian options, salads included.
If you’re not a vegetarian, the sky is the limit- whole chickens, bratwurst, ox, duck, German potato salad, schnitzel and so on. The festival desserts are also great- crepes, chocolate covered fruits on a skewer, fried dough and more indulgent noms.
The beer at Oktoberfest isn’t just any beer. Beer served during the festival has be from one of Munich’s six breweries- Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu, and Löwenbräu, and has a 6% higher alcohol content than regular beer. It’s also only available during Oktoberfest. I’m not a huge beer drinker (much bigger fan of red wine and whiskey), but drinking beer at Oktoberfest felt special.