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Oktoberfest Munich is the biggest folk festival in the world. For many people abroad the Oktoberfest in Germany defines German culture. Is this really true?
Actually, the Oktoberfest reflects the culture of Bavaria, not the entire country Germany.
Other German states have their unique folk festivals as well (Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart, Freimarkt in Bremen & the Rheinkirmes in Düsseldorf for example). These fairs attract also millions of visitors each year. However, none of these folk festivals is so well-known internationally and draw so many visitors from all around the world to Germany.
Statistics say that roughly 70% vistors to the Oktoberfest Munich come from Bavaria, 15 % from the rest of Germany and 15% from European countries, the US, Australia and Canada.
The locals call the festival the "Wiesn". Why? I am going to tell you about the origins of the Oktobefest in the history section.
Although the Oktoberfest in Munich has a reputation of being a huge beer drinking gathering, there are attractions and events for the entire family.
You just need to know when and where to go on the festival grounds.
That's where my friend Marion's Oktoberfest Guide comes in handy! As a Munich local she knows everything about the Oktoberfest and can give you invaluable tips.
The guide is available as Kindle ebook and paperback from Amazon, so you can download it within minutes or take the paperback version with your on your visit.
The first Oktoberfest in Munich took place on 12th Oktober 1812 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (who became King Ludwig I later) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Munich's citizens were invited to join the festivity which was held on a field on the city's outskirts. In honour of the new-wed princess it was named Theresienwiese (Theresia's meadow).
The festivities ended with a horse race, and it was decided to repeat the race in the following year. An agricultural show, beers stalls, merry-go-rounds and other amusements were added to the festival over the years.
The horse race is no longer held, but the Oktoberfest is still celebrated on the Theresienwiese in Munich. So welcome to the Wiesn as the locals say.
Okay, here are some statistics and facts, about visitor numbers, size of the Wiesn'n and the current beer price.
You might ask why is the Oktoberfest held in September, despite its name? Well, this is because of the weather. September is usually a bit warmer. The festival closes on the first Sunday in October. When the first or second October is on a weekend, the fair lasts until the 3rd because this is our national holiday.
The Oktoberfest tents are not really tents but often huge halls made from steel and wood. They are erected only for the Octoberfest, and then removed from the Wiesn until the next year.
There are 14 large tents with seats for up to 10,000 people, inside and outside. Then there are about 18 smaller tents with seats for a few hundred guests. In summary, there are seats for more than 100,000 visitors at the Oktoberfest in Germany.
If you don't live in or around Munich, it is a good idea to plan your Oktoberfest in advance.
If you plan to stay a couple of days in Munich, you might be interested in packages that include accommmodation and other activities. Hurry up! These tours book out quickly. Check out what is still available