Let’s see, where do I even begin. Oktoberfest in Munich is like a big giant carnival for adults. There are rides. There is food. And as one would expect there is lots and lots of beer. They claim 7 million liters are consumed during the 2 week event. What I didn’t expect? The famed beer “tents” to be not tents at all but giant buildings the size of a rocket ship hangar that seat up to 10,000 people.
The whole town dresses up in Dirndls and Lederhosen (think Heidi garb). Heaven forbid you drink beer without looking the part. Any excuse to wear a costume is a-okay with me, so clearly I had to get in on the action.
Every 20 minutes or so the oompah band in your tent strikes up a tune (the same tune, every 20 minutes) and you are supposed to sing along and drink to the health of everyone at your table. Clearly they just want you to buy more beer. The words are Ein Prosit, ein Prosit Der Gemütlichkeit (and repeat). Ein Prosit means ‘a toast’ and apparently Gemütlichkeit means ‘to cheer and good times.’ I’m not going to lie, I sat through two days of singing this and I never actually learned that word. A google search was necessary upon my return home. No matter!
Beer is served exclusively in liter steins. This is a LOT of beer.
It was fabulous to see old friends and meet new ones, and the camaraderie with other Oktoberfesters was beautiful. People make room for you at their tables, strike up conversations, and within minutes you are toasting each other like long lost siblings. We met 16 year olds from Munich, 60 year olds from Frankfurt, businessmen from Gujarat, a whole gaggle of (very cute) American boys from New Orleans, and lots of people in between.
Verdict? Something to see, tons of fun, but I don’t think I can handle that much beer in one weekend ever again. It might be several years before I muster up the courage to try this again. I’ll just have to gaze longingly at the Dirndl in my closet, which I fully intend to wear as my Halloween costume for the next 10 years.