Oktoberfest is one of the largest festivals in the world in Munich, Germany. Pretzels, dirndls, carnival rides, and beer are all essential components of the classic Oktoberfest experience. We are lucky enough to live only a couple subway stops from Theresienwiese, the grounds of Oktoberfest.
Here’s what you need to know:
Lederhosen and dirndls are all part of the fun! These are the traditional Bavarian outfits that mostly everybody wears to Oktoberfest. Of course, it is not necessary to dress up, but you may regret it once you step foot inside the grounds! There are plenty of stores to buy trachten (outfits). While window shopping I saw dirndls for about 200 Euro! I couldn’t believe I was going to pay that much for something I would only wear once a year, so I managed to find a really awesome vintage shop in our neighborhood that sold dirndls for a mere fraction of the price. I would, however, advise against buying outfits at Hauptbahnhof (train station) or online from Halloween stores. These are too short and not made of good material, and, trust me, it is so easy to tell which dirndls are cheap and which are not! Germans are not the most subtle and will just say what is on their mind, so…beware.
You have to eat the food! Chicken, pretzels, caramel apples, candied nuts, and chocolate covered pineapple are some of the foods we tried while on our Oktoberfest adventure. Everything is so yummy and it’s not at all like “fair food.”
The beers are gigantic! They are also 1% higher than normal German beers. But, they are worth the steep 10 Euro price.
Be prepared to Prost (cheers) every 15 minutes. While we were in the Hacker-Pschorr tent we enjoyed the live music and dancing on the table benches, but every time a certain song comes on everybody clinks their 1 Liter steins together and yells “Prost!” Maybe a few bicep curls would have better prepared me for this… the glasses are heavy!
Oktoberfest is a family event. This was particularly surprising to me. Coming from America, I’m sure we would frown at children being around an alcohol-based festival. Nope, not in Germany! There are little girls and boys dressed in the most adorable dirndl’s and lederhosen running around playing games and eating food. Children are even allowed in the beer tents until 10:30pm (closing time). I like how families can celebrate together without there being a stigma attached to drinking or having fun.
Play the games! Horror houses, ferris wheels, the big swings, and huge slides surround Oktoberfest and welcome even the craziest Oktoberfest goers. My favorite attraction is a tent with a big spinning wheel in the middle. There is an emcee that shouts out and welcomes different groups of people to jump on the spinning wheel. He’ll say “Ok, now children!” or “Now women over 50!” or “Only Americans!” It spins faster and faster. There’s even a huge swinging ball on the ceiling that tries to knock people off. The last one to stay on is the winner! It is the FUNNIEST thing I’ve seen at Oktoberfest so far. Where else can you see grown men in lederhosen go flying across the room?!
Thankfully, we have one more week of the fun and games at Oktoberfest!!