It began, bang on time, at 12:00 noon. Munich’s mayor Herr Dieter Reiter used a wooden hammer to pound a tap into the first Oktoberfest beer barrel at Schottenhamel Beer Tent. It was the opening act of the Oktoberfest 2014 at Theresienwiese on September 20, 2014 in Munich, Germany. It was the 181st such occasion of one of the world’s most famous and largest fairs.
The show then kicked off in earnest with a large and colourful parade put on by the tent operators and breweries. Their horse-drawn wagons loaded with huge beer barrels decked with flowers rolled sedately by. The parade was led by the traditional Münchner Kindl (Munich child) mascot.
Six days into the festivities and about 6 million visitors are expected to attend by the time it ends on Sunday 5th October. It is also estimated that 6 million litres of beer will go down their thirsty throats. Somehow that doesn’t seem excessive when you consider the numbers and the drink or bust attitude of attendees. Folks ‘sleeping it off’ in parks and gardens is one of the more common sights, in the mornings, during Oktoberfest.
Not wanting to give a false picture that Oktoberfest is all about drinking and falling over, there is plenty of other interesting stuff going on all the time. There is a parade of some kind nearly every day, dancing (traditional and a la carte), music and lots of costumes. On the fourth day there was the usual special lunch for senior citizens. The next day there was the solemn yet moving religious Oktoberfest mass.
The men donned their Bavarian best, with hats, braces, Wadlstruempfe stockings and lederhosen and participated in the Parade of Costumes and Riflemen on the second day of the fest. The ladies on the other hand showed up in traditional Dirndi garb at the funfair tent “Festzeit Tradition.” They hitched up their pretty bright red skirts and vigorously twirled and kicked their heels on the stage to lively music.
Comes the evening and night you would be forgiven for thinking that Munich was one overgrown fun fair and theme park. As dusk gathers, the whole place is lit up by thousands of coloured lights from the beer tents also the blinking and flickering ones from various rides and roller coasters. It is almost fairytale and Disneyland-ish and looks very pretty.
All this festivity and gathering of people from across the globe was actually sparked off in 1810. What happens every October began as a wedding celebration for Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese from Saxony-Hildburghausen (hence the name of the Theresienwiese). The commemoration soon morphed into the Munich Beerfest lasting for 16 days up to the first Sunday in October.
If you are fortunate enough to have got hold of accommodation during the fest and looking to plunge into the action here is what to expect in the coming days.
Sunday 28/9/2014 Traditional concert of brass bands
Tuesday 30/9/2014 Family Day: All rides and performances are cheaper
Sunday 05/9/2014 12 noon: Traditional gun salute at the Bavaria monument
Beer Serving Hours
Opening day 12.00 noon – 10.30 pm
Weekdays 10.00 am – 10.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday & holiday 09.00 am – 10.30 pm
Stall Opening Hours
Opening day 10.00 noon – midnight
Monday – Thursday 10 am – 11.30 pm
Friday 10.00 am – 12.00 midnight
Saturday 9 am – midnight
Sunday 9 am – 11.30 pm
More activities to check out while you are in Munich for the Oktoberfest-