This is a post about Oktoberfest 2017. I visited Oktoberfest three years ago, but the information is about the Oktoberfest 2017 with costs, tents, history, and a little bit of my opinions on the price and experience. I hope you enjoy this article! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading my blog!
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is an event that takes place in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-18 day folk festival with more than six million people around the world attending the event every year. During the event, a lot of Oktoberfest beers are consumed. For example, in 2013 over 7.7 million liters were served. Visitors who attend Oktoberfest enjoy amusement rides, sidestalls, games, and typically visit one of the Oktoberfest beer tents.
How did Oktoberfest come to be?
The first Oktoberfest took place on October 12, 1810 where the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. They put on a grand ceremony in the city of Munich for their wedding which involved the local “commoners”. According to a few sources I found online (Today I Found Out), an estimated 40,000 Bavarian citizens showed up ready to partake in the celebrations. The celebration was big! There was feasting, drinking, dancing and horse races. The party had such a huge effect that they ended up naming the meadow outside of the city gates “Theresienwiese” which is now known today as “Wies’n” – where the Oktoberfest of today takes place.
Why do so many people still travel to Munich for Oktoberfest?
According the statistics posted from Oktoberfest.net, the approximate amount of visitors total around 7,200,000. Moreover, Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world. What makes it so fun? Well, first, let’s look at the size – it’s about 420,000 m2 which is close to 103 acres or .16 of a mile. Moreover, there is a lot to see and do there. Many people enjoy wearing Lederhosen and Dirndl while enjoying the beer. But there is so much more to see and do! For example, there are stands where you can play games, enjoy classic Bavarian food, amusement park rides (one even lasting somewhere around 3 minutes), and games. The social setting is also very comfortable with people gathering around a large table from all over the world. It’s very international!
What is Lederhosen and Dirndl? Why do so many people wear them for Oktoberfest?
A lot of people that I know from back “home” tend to think that Lederhosen and Dirndl are the common clothing attire for people in Germany. This is a common misconception. Firstly, they are mostly a Bavarian tradition (from the German state Bavaria), and they still aren’t worn on a daily basis. In fact, they are mostly worn for beer festivals and on occasion, weddings. The “costume” (Lederhosen and Dirndl) is actually called “Tracht”. The Tracht tradition dates back to 1626 when the Bavarian Prince Elector Maximilian I established a dress code based on people’s rank in society. The dress code was divided into seven groups – common peasants, common townspeople, merchants, traders, minor aristocracy, knights and lords. The lowest – common peasants and common townspeople – were not allowed to wear special garments. Tracht is now worn leisurely throughout Bavaria – especially at large events such as Oktoberfest.
Special thanks to the Young Germany Blog for the information!
At Oktoberfest, there are many different “tents” where one can drink beer and partake in the celebrations. What is a tent and what is the difference between the small and big tents?
The word tent comes from the German translation of “Zelt”. While it’s called a tent, it actually looks more like a big house/building (in my opinion). The bigger tents are more for the parties/beer drinking while the smaller tend to be more focused on food and local specialities.
For example, here are some of the things that you can find at the small tents:(Source: Oktoberfest.de)
- Roasted Duck and Chicken (According to Oktoberfest.de, it’s a tradition and very popular among the locals.)
- A very interesting tent for veal (seriously, it’s all about veal)
- A fish house
- Vension (I think Bavarian’s really love meat and I’m not complaining!)
- A pastry house
- Sausage and Chicken
- A cheese tent
- …and more! Each tent seems to be a cultural experience. When I went to Oktoberfest, I didn’t really go to any of the small tents. But, I wish that I did!
Now, about the big tents at Oktoberfest:
There are 14 big tents and each hold something like 8,000 or more people (I’m not 100% sure on the exact number – but they are big.) The general hours tend to be 10-11:30pm during the week with last call at 10:30. On Saturday and Sunday they open a bit earlier and serve later. Now it’s important to note that reservations tend to sell out many months in advance. The reservations are free, but require a voucher to be purchased with a few liters of beer and some food. However, if you don’t have a reservation (which is hard to get), and want a place to sit, you should get there EARLY! For example, if the tent opens at 10, arrive at 9/9:30. I went to Oktoberfest during the week, but I heard that the lines start forming on Saturday at 5am. So, get ready for a long party weekend if you want to go!
Here is some information about the tents from my experience and from another blog I found online. I want to give credit to Big Boy Travel from where I got some of this information! It’s a really cool blog!On their blog, they listed the top 10 tents with great details. Since I’m trying to give a general overview of Oktoberfest, I’m going to talk about only three of the tents.
This tent was listed as Big Boy Travel’s number 1 pick. It’s an extremely large tent that sells over 550,000 liters of beer during Oktoberfest. Moreover, it has 25-30% of international visitors ranging from British to Americans, Italians to Austrians, and many more! It can be a lot of fun if you are looking for an international experience.
This was the tent that I went to. I heard from many people who live in Munich that this is the “hot spot” for the locals. A lot of people want to go to this tent. From my experience, most of the people there were a combination of locals and international visitors. I had a lot of fun there! A cool thing about this tent is on the last day the crowd lights sparklers and the tent goes dim to the sound of Sierra Madre.
This tent is unique in that it has the “Wildever Bar” which sells booze, schnapps, red wine, white wine, and champagne! They even sell Vodka-Red Bulls which is pretty much a rarity at Oktoberfest. They also play a mix of German and American classics. This could be an interesting choice if you aren’t a beer drinker. But then again, if you aren’t a beer drinker, maybe this beer festival, I mean folk festival, isn’t for you.
Again, if you want detailed information about the tents at Oktoberfest, check out Big Boy Travel. They have a great article on this!
They have a ton of amusement/attraction events at Oktoberfest. Although, I don’t know if I would mix beer and amusement rides. However, here we go!
The Oktoberfest Rides and Attractions:
According to Oktoberfest.de, (in 2017) six new rides are making a debut including the XXL Racer, Drifting Coaster (with swinging gondolas), Voodoo Jumper, and a “Märchenlandexpress” which takes you a on magic ride through a fairy tale land.
The classic rides include the following: Power Tower, Alpinabahn, and the Rocket.
The Alpinabahn is an actual roller coaster! We all know the festivals, fairs, and small events that have “roller coasters” which are small and kind of lame. But at Oktoberfest, they have real roller coasters that look fun! I found a video here of the Alpina Bahn from “Theme Park Review”.
The YouTube channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5420rjw9pA.
When I visited, I stayed mostly inside a beer tent. I didn’t venture out and test the rides.
The Oktoberfest sidestalls and games:
They have many small stands, booths, games (like pop the air balloon with a dart), snacks, and souvenir stands.
Oktoberfest 2017 Costs:
While all of this looks like a lot of fun, Oktoberfest is expensive! The prices have gone up each year and now if you want to go, you should be ready to spend a good 100-150 euro per day (at the minimum). Here are some of the costs that I have found online.
- Half of a chicken: 10-11 Euro
- 2 Sausages: 7.60
- 1 Slice of Bread with mixed onions and cheese: 11.50
- Macadamian Nuts: 6.50 for 10 pieces (roasted)
- Special Noodles with cheese: 12.50
- 3 Euro for a slice of bread
- 5 Euro for a slice of bread with butter
- Cheesecubes 18.20
- Ice cream bowl: 15 euro
- 1 Liter of Beer: 10 – 10.90
- 1 Liter of Water: 11 (More expensive than the beer!)
- 1 Liter of Lemonade: 10.75
- Bottle of Sparking Wine: 42 Euro
- Bottle of Champagne: 139 Euro
- Interesting Fact: You can buy an XXL Champagne for 15 Liters at 4,400 euro.
- This actually costs 1,620 more when compared to the price of the bottle.
- The most expensive roller coaster costs 9 euro per ride. Although, I heard it lasts for three minutes. I think the cheapest ride costs 6 euro.
My Thoughts and Personal Opinions about Oktoberfest 2017
Overall, I have to say that Oktoberfest is a one-of-kind experience with a lot of things to do and see. I loved the cultural experience and opportunity to people from all over the world. It was something that I will never forget! The main picture on my blog comes from my visit to Munich and Oktoberfest. With that being said, I have to say now that I can cross Oktoberfest off my bucket list and probably will not return. I don’t mean this to sound rude or to say anything against Oktoberfest. The reason why I won’t go back isn’t from a bad experience – in fact, it was quite fun! However, there were SOO many people there and I often struggle in large crowds. Moreover, the costs (as you can see above) of Oktoberfest are quite expensive. If you factor in the cost of travel, hotel, food, drinks, etc., I would have to budget a good 700-800 euro for the trip (and I live in Germany!). I would rather use that money for a trip outside of Germany or wait for other interesting cultural events such as the German Christmas Markets – which I love!
However, if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind cultural experience in Germany, and don’t mind the high prices, then Oktoberfest could be for you!