Oktoberfest, or Wiesn as the locals call it, is undeniably one of the world’s most iconic festivals in Munich that takes place in September and October. Break out your dirndl and lederhosen and check out the seven things you should add to your Oktoberfest agenda.
Test Your Courage on the Amusement Rides
Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest isn’t all about delicious, strong liters of beer and Bavarian food. If you want a rush of adrenaline, hop aboard one of their roller coasters. The most infamous one is the aptly named Olympia Looping. Picture the Olympic rings in your mind, and that’s exactly what you’ll see with a lot of gravity-defying loops. Once the sun starts to set, make a beeline for the Ferris wheel to get the best seats in the house. The Teufelsrad is the oldest ride at Oktoberfest, Munich – it was introduced to the festival way back in the 1910s, and it’s an endless source of entertainment for bystanders and riders. You can find videos online in order to get a better idea of what Teufelsrad is. You won’t regret it, promise!
Dances and Musical Performances
It goes without saying that when there is beer and food, there’s bound to be some singing and dancing to lift your spirits even higher. If you want to show off your moves, get up on the bench and dance your heart out. But, don’t stand on the tables because that’s one of the quickest ways to get escorted out. Swing by the “unofficial/official” closing ceremony on October 6th – it’s not marked on the calendar of events, but it always happens regardless. There you can join festival-goers and light some sparklers and sing along with locals and tourists alike in Hacker-Pschorr.
Watch the Parade on the First Day
Not only is the parade a spectacular sight, but it’s also a long-standing tradition that began 132 years ago in 1887 to kickstart the festival. According to the official website for Oktoberfest, it takes place at 10:45 AM on September 21st and lasts until noon, ending right before the famous “O’zapft is!” ceremony.
Don’t Miss the Lost & Found and Security Stations
Obviously, people don’t pay for flights to Germany during Oktoberfest if they’re not planning on having a fun time. But things can go awry sometimes with over 6 million visitors and the sheer magnitude of the festival itself — it’s much bigger than most people realize. Before you begin your shenanigans, look for the security point and lost & found station. Once you locate it, make a mental note in case you lose your wallet or run into any problems. There is a security checkpoint designated for only women and young girls at the Bavaria statue near the service center, all thanks to the “Safe Wiesn” campaign.
Watch the Fleas on Family Day
We know what you’re thinking. It must be a mistake, after all. Believe it or not, there is a legitimate flea circus, where the trained fleas pull around tiny wagons and other pieces in an enclosed space. And if that’s not your thing, you can check out the food market and bring your kids along for the family-friendly rides such as Poseidon (water log ride) and Heidi (slow roller coaster). September 24th and October 1st will have discounted rides and attractions, and not to mention that there won’t be a need to pay for a babysitter. Sounds like a win-win scenario to me.
Check Oide Wiesen for a Piece of Old Germany
This is where German and Bavarian traditions come alive. Step inside Festzelt Tradition for a beer stein while you listen to their orchestra and brass music. Unlike the other tents, there’s absolutely no dancing on the benches or tables. Instead, they dance it out on the floor. If you’re lucky, you might catch a whip-cracking show or two. Also, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed in the menu at Herzkasperl-Festzelt.
Visit All the Tents If You Can
Tables fill up very quickly, so it’s better to plan ahead or place some reservations if you’re traveling with a large group. Hacker-Festhalle always comes highly recommended every year, and for a good reason! It’s the only tent that opens up like a convertible car when it’s not raining. Otherwise, the ceiling has a beautiful painted light blue sky with clouds. Formerly known as Winzerer Fähndl, Paulaner Festzelt is the largest size with a maximum capacity of 11,000 attendees. You won’t miss it because there’s a huge rotating beer stein to mark the location. You can hop over to Käfer once it gets dark, but don’t wait until the last minute because it’ll go down from 14 tents to 1 for the night.
If you’ve gone to Oktoberfest in the past, feel free to share all the must-sees in the comment section below!