The Munich Oktoberfest: Oh, What a Party!
Gee, folks, how would y'all like to join me and 400,000 of my closest friends on a trek to the biggest party in THE WHOLE FREAKING WORLD? That's kinda what it felt like to head to Munich to my first (and hopefully not last) Oktoberfest!
This is one of those experiences that can only be appreciated first hand -- you got to be there to see it.
Located only a couple blocks from the main train station, the Oktoberfest populates the city's fairgrounds, about two square miles worth. Upon it are constructed numerous "fest tents", some of which are extraordinary feats of temporary construction (like the above... the figurines are indeed mechanical and spinning the 'ochs').
The major breweries of Munich have one to five of these fest tents scattered around the fairgrounds, some of them as big as a soccer stadium. Below is actually the smallest of the Paulaner tents -- its others had outside biergartens.
But to get an appreciation for goes on inside, look at the photo below. Each of these tents are elaborately decorated and filled with row tables. This picture was taken at about noontime -- thus giving you just a sampling of how active this party was.
Each tent had live traditional Bavarian music (the band is in the green stage at the back center of the above photograph), lots of food, and lots of beer! The beer was sold by the maß, a 1-liter mug, so you can just imagine how much beer is consumed during a single fest.
But of course, beer is not the only thing happening. Each of the breweries had a horse wagon with clysedales dressed in full armor providing rides for a nominal fee. There were numerous eateries of all sizes and sophistication -- mostly Bavarian foods, such as bratwurst, soups, and sandwiches, but there was a decent variety to choose from. The southern half was a full-blown amusement park with ferris wheels, rollercoasters, and fun houses. And there were souvenir stands out the ying-yang... but with decent quality stuff.
Getting to the Oktoberfest is really easy by train. Deutsche Bahn normally sets up extra trains running from the major cities to Munich, and there's a special bargain price for an Oktoberfest day-trip -- From Heidelberg to Munich and back same day was about half-price.
Now if you'll pardon me, you can see that I have my first maß below, that I am about to enjoy. Hope to see you here next year!
Trip taken 29 September 2001 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin