Tuesday, November 24, 2009


When it comes to drinking beer, I don’t have any experience. In fact, I have made a vow to never let any form of alcohol touch my lips. But drinking beer just isn’t about getting wasted; it’s about having a good time. And when you’re having a good time you’re normally partying with other people. Well in the drinking world, there’s no bigger celebration of culture and booze than the mighty Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is a sixteen day festival held in Munich, Germany from late September to early October. It is the world’s largest fair drawing six million people annually largely based in Bavarian culture. The first such celebration was held in 1810 in honor of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen where a horse race was held.

The festival has been significantly altered since the 1950s. Every year there is the twelve gun salute and tapping of the first keg of beer at 12:00 by the incumbent Mayor of Munich crying "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!" in the Austro-Bavarian language). The mayor then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria.

Like any other outdoor festival, there are vendors and rides. The vendors reside under huge tents, of which there are 14, each containing a different atmosphere and festivities. Three of the most popular tents are described below.


This tent’s main feature is its crossbow competition of which marksmen have been competing since 1895. Owner Peter Inselkammer insures everyone’s physical well-being. His tent offers roast chicken, knuckle of pork, or traditional sausages with sauerkraut. Of course, all these dishes go great with a mug of their Paulaner beer.

The Hippodrom

It's important to note that one shouldn't start looking for a place to sit too late, as the Hippodrom is somewhat smaller than the other tents. Mainly frequented by the younger crowd, it contains a stylish sekt (sparkling wine) bar and is recommended for singles.


Ornamental lions mounted on the roof let out ferocious roars every few minutes. This tent is the meeting point for fans of the TSV 1860 Munich soccer team as they are called ‘the Lions’.

Now as for the rides, Oktoberfest’s main attraction is the Olympic Looping, a portable steel roller coaster. It is the largest of its kind and the only one with five loops. The loops are arranged to resemble the Olympic rings and are more circularly shaped than most roller coasters resulting in higher g-forces exerted on its passengers (up to 5.2 g’s). The whole structure weights 900 tons and requires a housing space of 85 by 36 meters.

Did you know?- Especially drunk patrons are often called Bierleichen (German for "beer corpses").

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