PROST! A Guide to Surviving Oktoberfest

It’s that time of the year again for Oktoberfest! This time last year, I was in Munich, Germany with a group of my friends and my partner enjoying their world-famous festival. While there, we visited four tents Hofbrau Festzelt, Weinzelt, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.

Oktoberfest or Wiesn is the biggest beer festival in the world. The festival first began in the early 1800s, when the Bavarian Crown Prince married a Princess.

It runs for about 3 weeks in Munich and there are 16 tents with different beers, themes and atmospheres. The tents all offer food but there are countless food stalls amongst the vendors and carnival rides too.

The tents are often capable of hosting thousands of people; however, there are limitations because in order to get food or a drink, you must be at a table. The majority of are friendly and incredibly welcoming when it comes to sharing tables. If you’re going on the weekends, it’s best to go in the morning to avoid queues. We went on Saturday and Sunday and saw long queues accumulate in the afternoon.

Dirndl-lederhosen

What to wear:

  • Wear waterproof shoes or shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. On our first day, we encountered blood, vomit, and urine.
  • It’s normal to wear traditional Bavarian attire, Dirndl (women) and Lederhosen (men). It’s definitely more fun to be dressed up. Luckily you can purchase either online from places like eBay and Amazon.
  • Dirndls should go to the kneecaps. Since I’m petite, my dirndl needed to be taken up in length to be at my kneecaps. I used no-sew-tape, otherwise known as heat bonding tape. While I purchased a $20 dirndl from eBay, I made my own apron with Cherry Blossom design. I picked out the fabric from a nearby art store and used an online tutorial on how to make one. I found this tutorial to be quite useful.

A little about Oktoberfest’s beer:

There are 15 tents designated for beer, enjoy! Beer comes in a one liter stein glass, is between 6-8% alcohol and cost around 11 euros. If you like the stein glass, buy it! You’re able to purchase steins as souvenirs either inside or outside of the tents. Security checks all bags upon entry and exit. If they find a stolen stein in your bag, you will consequentially pay a fine.

Oktoberfest-wineHow to quench your thirst if you don’t like beer:

  • Wine. The downside is that wine only seems to be served in the wine tent, Weinzelt. They offer approximately 15 different kinds, a variety of Sekt (sparkling wine) and Champagne. The cost of wine is comparable to beer. I believe a quarter liter of wine was 9 euros.
  • Radlers or lemonade mixed with beer. This is widely offered throughout the tents. It’s probably the easiest, non-rule breaking option.
  • Bring a flask. Here’s my rule breaking recommendation, covertly bring a flask filled with liquor that mixes well with sprite/coke; all tents have soda. Since security checks bags I discretely hid mine in the corset of my dirndl.

So you’re hungry:

There’s a lot of food at Oktoberfest. Albeit many of the foods are roasted or skewered. Food can be purchased from stands on the fairgrounds and inside the tents. Options for healthy/vegetarian/vegan dishes are limited. The majority of meals we saw were: grilled fish, seafood sandwiches, pretzels, potatoes, cheesy noodles, and roasted pork/chicken/lamb/duck/ox. While I enjoyed the roasted chicken and duck, the pretzels were disappointing but hearty.

Weinzelt
I had Weinzelt all to myself at 10am on a Sunday.

Bathroom situation:

  • Expect long waits. Waiting for bathrooms outside of the tents often took at least 20 minutes because of long queues.
  • However inside the tents, we found the bathrooms to be an awful experience. While we were in Hofbrau Festzelt‘s tent, a security guard tackled a woman that tried to cut ~30 people waiting. When 2 of my friends and I crammed into a single stall, we were nearly attacked by 2 women that were trying to cut us. Unfortunately, another one of our experiences at Hofbrau, was being at a table with 18 year-olds that wanted to urinate under the table.

Going to Oktoberfest for my first time last year was most definitely an unforgettable experience. Cheers!

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