Oktoberfest, Germany’s largest festival and arguably the liveliest party in the entire world, is like a Disneyland for adults. Based in Munich, the festival has its origins in the year 1810 and spans over three weeks in September (I know it’s misleading). With some 6 million people attending each year, here is a game plan to help prepare you for the Bavarian culture fest.
1. Dress the part or you'll regret it
Get over yourself and get into costume. For men, lederhosen are considered standard attire and for women, you can go to a local store and grab a dirndl. Sure, you don't have to dress the part, but if you're traveling all the way to Germany, you might as well get the full experience.
#SpoonTip: Ladies, be aware of the way you tie your bow: left is single and ready to mingle, right is taken, and middle is a virgin.
2. Pace yourself drinking
I knew the beers were served in big steins but I didn't realize HOW BIG they really were! Beer is served in one-liter glasses and the cost this year was between €10.40 and €10.70. Instead of the more common 5% to 5.5% of alcohol, the Oktoberfest beer usually is about 1% stronger.#SpoonTip: If you plan to go hard or go home, try adding Radlers to your drink rotation. Radlers are half beer, half lemonade served in steins that provide a very refreshing alternative to straight beer.
3. Go in with a game plan—have a tent in mind
Oktoberfest caters to thousands of people each year and it's important that you know which tent you want to hit first thing. I recommend getting to your tent of choice thirty minutes before the doors open.
Doors open at 9-10 am (depending) and you can run in with the storm of people to guarantee yourself a table (trust me, you'll want to sit at a table). The Hofbräu-Festzelt has enough room for over 10,000 of your closest drinking buddies.
#SpoonTip: Make sure you and your friends have a meeting spot if someone gets separated in the mass of people.
4. The food is unreal
Of course, we can't forget the food, and I must admit that it was some of the best food I've ever had. In combination with the beer, treats like giant pretzels, juicy grilled bratwursts, whole roast chicken, cinnamon sugar donuts or candied nuts make for a perfect combo.
5. Tip your server
Although one stein of beer ranged from €10-11 dollars, don't skimp on tipping your initial waiter another €1-2. They appreciate the tips and are likely to come to your table more often to serve up more beer.
6. It's not just about eating and drinking
Oktoberfest offers many fairground attractions from arcade games, roller coasters, live music, vendors and dancing. The grounds are so lively and I highly suggest taking part of your day to soak in the environment.
7. Fake it 'til you make it
A tradition that I wasn't aware of prior to the festival was the act of chugging. In tents, people will stand up on tables and chug their beer until the last drop. But a word to the wise: do not attempt a task you cannot do. If you say you’re going down a liter and then you don’t finish or take too long, expect to be laughed at, booed mercilessly and have pretzel pieces thrown at you. I suggest only standing up with as much beer as you know you can finish.
So strap on your lederhosen and tie together your dirndl because you are ready for the most overwhelming and exciting weekend ever! Beards, beers, brats, and PROST!