The world’s largest fair of the year is right around the corner and the city of Munich, Germany and the city is preparing for its annual average of 6 million visitors that typical inundate the town for the duration of Oktoberfest, the country’s largest annual event. Even though you don’t want to sound like a local, it takes more than just learning the tips in your guidebook for ordering a few liters of beer and sounding somewhat like a local. Here are a few tips for attending Oktoberfest this year and enjoying yourself among the crowds.
photo by Greenwich Photography
Depending on the day of the week, finding a table inside the Festhalle is pretty challenging and sometimes impossible – weekends are the worst, especially if the weather turns uncooperative. You may have to wait between 30 minutes to an hour, and even that may be in vane.
Once you have gotten inside the Festhalle, remember to drink – not to be facetious, but continuing to drink is the only way you will be able to stay inside. Otherwise, you may be asked to leave and won’t be able to keep your seat at a table. You will not be served if you are standing up so find a table. You would think with over 30 beer tents to choose from that this would be easier but remember, there will be 6 million visitors there over the course of the festival.
Since 2008, smoking is no longer allowed inside buildings and tents – suffice it to say, there are smoking areas as well as non-smoking areas.
Two events that you want to take in on Opening Day are the festival’s official opening ceremony and the Oktoberfest Costume Parade – the Opening Day ceremony takes place the first Saturday of the festival in the “Schottenhamel” tent and the first keg is tapped by the mayor at noon. As far as the costume parade goes, there are numerous parades but the Costume and Riflemen’s Parade is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
Convert your currency to Euros (€) – granted you can save some of your own currency as British Pounds and US Dollars are accepted in some spots but the main thing to bring is Euros because many places in the festival do not accept credit cards. Last year (2010), beer by the liter ran between €7.70 and €8.00, while water and soda cost €4.00 to €6.00.
Surprisingly, there are lots of things to do for children – many parents wonder if they can bring their children with them to Oktoberfest and the answer to that is “yes”. There are “family days” that are geared towards families with children where everyone can enjoy the fun rides such as ferris wheels and roller coasters, and also a lot of music and numerous parades.
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