It’s finally September and that means it’s time for…OKTOBERFEST! Doing your research and knowing the history of this glorious event is key to celebrating properly though. In order to help you avoid making a mistake and getting the cold shoulder from your fellow party-goers, we’ve gathered some useful information for your convenience.
Despite what the name may suggest, Oktoberfest actually takes place in September!
The name of this ultimate beer themed celebration is a bit misleading. The celebration actually occurs in September, and didn’t even start as an ode to beer. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, and actually served as a wedding feast for the Bavarian King Ludwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia. The celebration didn’t even include drinking beer until 1819 when the event’s horse races were replaced by beer carts and a decree that the event will return each year. As far as annual parties go, the organizers of Oktoberfest have been extremely reliable. The festivities have actually only been called off a total of two dozen times!
Tapping the First Keg
Thou shall not drinketh thy beer before the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg and declareth “O’zapft!” or “It’s Tapped!”. Alright it’s not quite as serious as the commandments so excuse the attempt at old scripture style writing. It is an important tradition that marks the start to this great party though! So be respectful and patient as the Mayor carries out this tradition. Besides, isn’t it more fun to share the event’s first beer with one giant crowd all at once?
Costume and Riflemen’s Parade
The day after the first keg is tapped sees the crowds gathering again at 10 a.m. for the Costume and Riflemen’s Parade. This annual parade consists of over 7,000 dancers, floats, animals and marching bands! It’s a part of Oktoberfest that can really be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it does a great job keeping the masses entertained between rounds.
The fun fair is a key part of the overall celebration and really helps bring a family friendly vibe to the event. Children can enjoy various carnival rides, a flea circus, live music, and street performers! Pair this with the great Bavarian food stalls, souvenir booths, and carnival games and you have the makings of a great time.
The music is a huge part of the Oktoberfest tradition. One can expect to find yodeling, wind music, brass bands, Oom-Pah-Pah and Polka all mixing together throughout the festival to create an amazing party atmosphere. There are also countless sing-alongs, beer tents hosting their own music, and renditions of modern pop songs with a classical twist.
The souvenirs you choose will play a big role in remembering your Oktoberfest experience for years to come. The most iconic souvenir is of course the beer stein, and you’ll want to bring one of these home. Don’t try to steal it from a beer tent though! This is an issue plaguing the celebration and has led to countless arrests over the years. Rather than finishing your Oktoberfest in lockup, purchase your stein legally. And maybe grab a t-shirt, gingerbread necklace, or feathered Alpine Hat to take home as well!
These are just a small sampling of the many Oktoberfest traditions that have developed and lasted over the years. What’s the best way to learn more about Oktoberfest? Either find a celebration near you or find money for a plane ticket to attend the original! And after you’re done having a blast don’t forget to check if you have everything you brought with you. Oktoberfest is notorious for having an impressive lost and found. Last year’s collection consisted of 520 wallets, 1056 passports, a tombstone and a Segway among other strange items!