OKTOBERFEST held in Munich, Germany every year since 1810 beginning in late September concluding in the namesake month of October is synonymous to beer. Some people choose to call this 18 odd days festival as the beer festival and trust me as far as fun is concerned, there is dearth of none – both choice and volume aplenty. The verve and zeal surrounding the festival is invariably its biggest USP.
Few years back, as a teetotaller, I had visited the fest with little expectations. To my surprise, the OKTOBERFEST, world’s oldest folk festival, turns out to be great fun – regardless of the choice of your beverage ! The atmosphere at the Fest is full of infectious energy with lots of avenues for the family to spend great time. The policing is top notch and there is hardly an incident of misbehaviour.
The fest is centered around large tents set up for the beer brands on an exclusive basis while other attractions are at some distance. The tents follow entry restrictions in form of age etc. which are enforced by the posted. Almost all of these beer camps have an entry fee. Some brands allow unlimited access to beer with this fee, other would charge for individual drinks inside. The fact that a whopping 7.7 million litres of beer was served during 2013 version speaks about the scale of the event.
The best part about the fest is that there are numerous avenues for enjoyment. Somewhat compartmentalized away from the beer tents are amusement rides, side stalls, games, ambient music and locals clad in the native Bavarian costumes – dirndls and Lederhosen -which sets up an amazing environment. The festival site is at walking distance from the Munich Central Station (Munich Hbf). The streets leading to the fest are lit up with the shops selling the gorgeous heart shaped gingerbread – a characteristic of the OKTOBERFEST and definitely a must try. The path from the station until the entrance of the fest is full of enthusiasm. In fact during the fest, especially over the weekends, even the trains leading to Munich are also an attraction in itself with festival visitors lighting up the mood with their songs and beautiful dresses. The entrance is seamless, of course with the necessary checks and controls. The ambient music is simply wonderful. Until 6 in the evening the sound levels are restricted to 85 Db which are raised to different genre and sound levels subsequently. The Amusement rides are well priced with some choice available. The local snacks are available in the designated stalls, which largely serve non-vegetarian global (read American influenced) cuisine. You can walk around and spend hours soaked in the atmosphere.
The Beer Tents : The Beer tents are simply out of world. There are formal and informal contests coupled with great music. Save for the stray incidents, the law and order is managed extremely well both inside and outside the tents and many people visit the fest for these tents and music.
So the bottomline is that I thoroughly enjoyed the festival and also found lot of families – with even small children – having a great time as well. So, visit the OKTOBERFEST for the atmosphere and energy. It’s equally fun with or without the mugs. Cheers!
Facilities. There are ample toilets and the festival infrastructure is friendly for differently-abled visitors.
CONNECTIVITY Ex Salzburg, Munich is rather easy commute. Deutsche Bahn (DB) treats Salzburg, Austria as its ‘frontier’ station and therefore the Bavarian passes of DB hold their validity until Salzburg. I highly recommend the pass in case you want to visit Munich on a day trip.
PS: Unfortunately, the Fest has been cancelled in 2020 due to prevalent COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s your take on the Oktoberfest. Looking forward to your comments below.