Oktoberfest – or shall I say “die Wiesn“? (which is what the locals refer to it after the name of the fairgrounds on which it is held)
So, why the post on Oktoberfest?
- I’M GOING THIS YEAR! Yup, be jealous.
- Beer: we love it and so do you.
- Why not?
- I’m gonna give you party planning essentials to host your OWN Oktoberfest this year.. but shouldn’t you know a little more about it first? (Answer: yes)
First of all, I am totally ecstatic to be going to Europe and to attend THE LARGEST fair in the world! I’ll be in other neighboring countries as well, but we are planning a stop in Munich (Bavaria’s capital and largest city) just for Oktoberfest! We will be one of many – over 6 million to be exact – to be visiting Munich and this annual celebration. That’s a little bit of an intimidating number, wouldn’t you agree? So I started doing some research on what to plan/what to expect, and actually learned a lot about the festival.
So what exactly is Oktoberfest?
Good question! As far as I was concerned, it was a huge beer drinking-celebration, nothing more. Well, yes, there is beer – and lots of it! And lots of delicious German food, but this celebration actually started out because of the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (try saying that!) All the citizens of Munich were invited to the festivities on the fields in front of the city gates, called Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow). The name was eventually shortened to “Wies’n”, hence the name the locals call Oktoberfest.
Back to the good stuff…
The fair is on over 100 acres of land and has many beer tents to choose from (making my decision extremely difficult!) Each tent has its own unique characteristics, featuring different food, beers, singing, dancing, etc. The big tents can seat up to 10,000 people! The smaller ones hold only hundreds. They have large picnic style tables, so you are forced into drunk interaction with strangers, who will call you out if you aren’t partaking in the festivities by singing, dancing, and whatever else! I guess I’ll find out more in September!
At noon on the dot of the first day of the fair (which is September 21 this year), the mayor taps the first keg and shouts “ozapft is!”, meaning “it’s tapped!” – and so it begins! This takes place every year in the Schottenhamel tent, which seats 10,000. Back in 1867, this tiny tent sat only 50!
Stay tuned for our next Oktoberfest post: How to throw your own Oktoberfest party!