If we turn the calendar back to 1810, this is when the first Oktoberfest was held to celebrate Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
The 5-day festival started on October 12 and ended on October 17 with a commemorative horse race. All the burghers of Munich were invited to participate and it was such a merry occasion that they decided to hold the event every year.
2017 marks the 184th Oktoberfest (a few years have been skipped, particularly when the country was at war) and it’s still as popular as ever, with around six million people expected to attend Munich Oktoberfect this year. During the two weeks following the third Saturday in September, revellers are likely to swill almost seven millions litres of beer and feast on hundreds of thousands of German sausages, roast chickens and pretzels!
The field outside Munich’s city centre comes alive with colourful parades, showground attractions and specially erected tents-come-beer-halls with long wooden tables and benches that can hold up to 10,000 visitors.
While it’s not compulsory to don the traditional lederhosen for men or Bavarian frocks with full skirt and tight bodice for women, you’ll see many taking the opportunity to get into the festive spirit and dress in the local gear.
As you’d expect, beer is a big part of any Oktoberfest celebration, but in Munich the only beer served must be produced by local breweries, such as Augustiner, Paulaner and Spaten. Plus prepare yourself for the one litre glasses, because this is the only way it comes!
Having said all that, there is more to Oktoberfest than drinking and eating. You can find live music in most of the tents and plenty of opportunities to join traditional Bavarian folk dances. There are a variety of shows at the Puppet Theatre and the fairground attractions are a great hit with families. There are thrilling rides or calmer merry-go-rounds to keep everyone entertained, or you could try you luck at the shooting galleries.
Gate 1 Travel has already released our 2018 departure dates, so if you want to plan your trip in Germany to coincide with Oktoberfest now’s your chance!
Featured photo: Munich by Anthony Judice.