As an American we hear the term “Oktoberfest” and think of a gigantic beer fest, complete with sloppy wet floors and more than tipsy attendees. Now, I am sure that at certain times of the Fest, the city of Munich will see just these types of visitors at an event that is free of charge. However, the true Oktoberfest means so much more. From what I saw it was a way for Germans of Bavaria to celebrate the pride in who they are. Better yet, I saw many people who were not German, from around the world wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls. I wish I could have captured more photos of this as it was a demonstration of how global the festival is.
The origin of the festival is simple, it was a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in October of 1810. Lucky for Therese the grounds have been named in honor of her, Theresieweise. The grounds are amazingly large and the festival is constructed there each year. The Original Oktoberfest had horseracing and even featured freak shows. Now these are not present, just as wonderful and no freaks, I think.
Only six breweries are allowed to participate in Oktoberfest and the beer must be brewed within Munich city limits. Each brewery has a tent where they serve only their beer. Also, the brewing process for this beer has begun in March. It is the traditional process and is called Marzienbier and has a higher level of alcohol. Now, the reason for that high level of alcohol is not for the sheer celebration, but for good reason. It is need to defend against bacteria and so that it can last all summer before the fest.
Many things cross one’s mind when hearing the word
tent. These tents are gigantic and larger than I ever imagined. Some of them hold up to 7,500 people. Further, all beer is served in steins. The original, traditional steins were made of stone. It was not until 1892 that glass was introduced. Oh, and don’t think that the Germans have not caught on to those of you that enjoy a quick five-finger discount on a commemorative mug. They charge a “deposit”, that you get a plastic return chip to receive your Euros back. Believe me, three Euros is incentive.
While the thought of taking a child to a beer festival may be strange, there were many families there. This whole festival is not just about clinking mugs and shouting “Prost”. They use the amazing grounds for wonderful entertainment, like games, food and rides.
The rides are great fun day or night!
They even had a section for smaller children. The below image makes me laugh, seeing that most people in these bumper cars are adults in the children’s section.
Below are the cookies that can be seen all over.
Lastly, a fun way to end our day!