Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, the 16-day folk festival known as Oktoberfest runs from mid or late September to the first weekend in October. At this moment, beer lovers partaking in the event are most likely donning their Lederhos’n and Dirndl to prepare for a full day of fun. Some might say the excitement of Oktoberfest is not worth the intense crowds that flood Munich, or the shameful displays of public drunkenness. I, however, disagree, and although I have unfortunately never attended the festival, it seems there is much to be celebrated and praised in respect to this massively successful event. Here are five things that rock about Oktoberfest!
1. Dress Up
What could be more fun than dressing up in some traditional Bavarian clothing? Grab your Lederhosen, Dirndl, and Wiesn Glupperl! You can even find second hand apparel on eBay if you don’t want to pay full price at a traditional store. The photos below can give you a better idea of the items you’ll need to look your best at Oktoberfest, or check out this article by Mark Zanzig.
2. Family Friendly
Oktoberfest is full of activities for all ages, and attendees are encouraged to bring their kids. Kids will find the rides and games to be a little bit more enticing than the drinks! There is even a Family Day in which all rides and performances cost less. Below are the rules for children and teens at the festival.
3. Collective Spirit
Seth Godin defines a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.” It’s hard to find a better event that fully embodies this definition, as more than 6 million people from around the world attend this event each year. Not only is Oktoberfest the world’s largest beer festival, but it has been an important part of Bavarian culture since 1810! By attending Oktoberfest, you are not only joining beer lovers from around the world, but you are becoming a part of a tradition and a tribe.
4. The Hype
Guests can look forward to all kinds of tasty dishes, activities, performances, and… a parade! The big tent owners and breweries parade is packed with horse carts decorated with flowers, big brass bands, beer tent waitresses with big beer mugs, and incredible beer wagons with garlands and big wooden barrels. Approximately 1,000 people take part in the parade, which took place for the first time in 1887.
5. The Beer!
The most obvious of all the reasons to attend Oktoberfest is of course, the beer! There are many tents to choose from and they all have their own mood and atmosphere. The real question:”Which beer is the best?” The answer: consult this old Augustiner joke…
After work, all the brew masters from the Munich breweries sit together in a pub. Needless to say, each brewer orders beer from his own brand, i.e. the Löwenbräu guy orders Löwenbräu, the Hacker-Pschorr guy orders Hacker-Pschorr, and so on. Last one to go is the Augustiner guy. He orders a Coke. Everybody is stunned, asking – “Why?” – “Well”, he finally says with a wide grin, “if you are not ordering any beers, then I won’t, too.”