By: Cameron King
Yeah you’ve heard of Oktoberfest. Almost anyone who’s ever grown up past the age of 10 has heard about the world’s biggest beer festival. Celebrated all over the world, the real event is held in Munich, Germany from typically the second or third weekend in September to the first week of October. Oktoberfest annually has about 6.4 million different visitors to Munich’s famous fairgrounds. This year, 2013, was the 213th year Oktoberfest has been celebrated in Munich, dating all the way back to the first Oktoberfest in 1800!
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party, but with the copious amounts of alcohol being served (Each stein costs about 10 Euro and is equal to three normal sized beers) but this year’s estimated totals are already astonishing: Look at just the food that was ordered before the first weekend even occurred!114 oxen, 58 calves and approximately 6.7 million liters of beer were consumed. The guests spent about 400 million Euros on this year's Oktoberfest, in total the city of Munich in 2012 was estimated to profiting almost ONE BILLION EUROS.
Whoa, that’s a lot of cash. Now let’s get to the real review. I’ve dreamed of making it to Oktoberfest ever since I first found out it was more than just a fancy name to throw scores of parties in October. Think about it, hundreds of thousands of people all drinking beer at the same time, fully decked out in formal German drinking outfits. Can you imagine the energy flowing in a 13,000 person tent? Girls popping out of their Dirndls, Guys screaming with their bros in their lederhosen, Everyone ordering steins, waitresses carrying as many as 12-13 enormous beer mugs filled to the brim of delicious fermented nectar. Wow! The vibe at Oktoberfest simply cannot be matched or compared to anything else in the world!
I’ve been to Munich, previously four times in total, once when I backpacked through Europe when I was 18, the other few coming from last semester of working for Euroadventures. The previous three times, I attended three smaller festivals (oddly also celebrating beer in Munich) Starkbierfest and Fruhlingfest, Strong Beer fest and Spring Fest respectively. Both of those previous are much smaller events in comparison to Oktoberfest and are also incredible. Completely worth going to Munich for, but by far my favorite is Oktoberfest. Despite the weather turning pretty ugly throughout the weekend, the amount of smiles on people’s faces was well worth it. There are 13 separate beer tents, all housing over thousands of people amongst hundreds of tables and seats. The amount of security alone is nuts, despite guards at every single entrance us tour guides still managed to sneak a few students in to the chaos that was the Hofbrauhaus on Friday. Typically, the touristy tent, the Hofbrau tent is insane. You can stand on tables and chug your beer all to the roar of thousands of spectators. If you were brave enough to chug the equivalent of three beers, ridiculous cheers and screams would erupt. Thunderous applause was the occurrence all throughout the day at Oktoberfest as the day went on more people would attempt to gain the glory of the crowd. I even saw one older guy take a full three minutes to chug his stein, but never did he lower it. Eventually conquering his stein.
Saturday started out with a raucous hangover in the morning, getting up at 6:45 AM to put my lederhosen back on and trek my 15 minute walk back to the tents to wait in line until 9 AM for the Lowenbrau tent to open. It was certainly a chilly morning and night (I felt awful for the people who chose to camp out that weekend in Munich. It was definitely below 30 F the previous night)
Getting my first stein at 9:15 was a triumph in its own. The first sip was the toughest, getting back into it was far easier after that. Food starts being served in the tents at around 11 AM, and it truly is a hangover cure for most. It may have been the beer, but literally some of the most delicious food one has ever tasted. The food and beer combinations are pure soul sucking. It’s all literally too good.
I’ll skip the much finer details of my days in Oktoberfest simply because everyone has their own stories to tell, millions of them in fact. Be sure if you do go to Oktoberfest, you will come back with far more than a few stories and an empty wallet. You will literally have the time of your life with some of your closest friends. And don’t worry, if you go solo, you’ll make more friends than you can account for at the end of the weekend. Such an incredible weekend, it is truly a bucket-list event to attend and I’m more than glad I was able to do it with a few million travelers and my best friends at Euroadventures.
- Cam King
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