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Everything you need to know about the amazing festival of Oktoberfest

Let’s rewind back a little. To 1600, eh? No, it is too much rewinding! Reduce it a bit and settle for 1810. All set? Okay now. Wedding arrangements of Ludwig of Bavaria and the Princess of Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen are in full swing in Munich and amidst all the buzz, a Bavarian National guard suggests that the grand wedding be celebrated with a horse-racing. Fair and good, everybody agrees. But as a precursor to the event, people in the city gather at Theresienwiese. Boom just like accidental Powerpuff Girls, Oktoberfest was born!

While the idea of Oktoberfest was born out of the blue, the tradition has been followed since. Today, attracting over six million people from all around the world, Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world. Here is everything you want to know about the amazing festival of Oktoberfest.

As you understand Oktoberfest better, here is something which will really help you get going on the trip.

Where and when is Oktoberfest held?

Oktoberfest 2017

Oktoberfest 2017 runs for roughly 2 weeks. It starts on the 16th of September 2017 and extends till 3rd October 2017. The festivity takes place on Theresienwiese area in Munich’s inner city. It is just a tram ride from Munich. The opening ceremony of Oktoberfest 2017 will be held at the Schottenhamel tent on Saturday, the 16th. The Mayor of Munich will be tapping the first keg of beer in the afternoon and then you are welcome to quench your thirst.

Also read: 15 crazy festivals that you should know about

What is the deal with tents?

Oktoberfest 2017

The Oktoberfest grounds are really huge and it is occupied by tents all the way. All the drinking in Oktoberfest takes place within the tents and there are 14 large tents & 20 small tents. While there isn’t much difference in the quality of the beer as they come from a single Munich brewery, the festive vibe and the cuisine totally varies from tent to tent. To name a few – Bettle Duck and Venison Venison at Wies’n-Schänke, Oxen on the spit at Ochsenbraterei, Grilled fish at Fischer-Vroni, Barbecue and Pork Chops at Armbrustschützenzelt.

Is there any entrance fee to Oktoberfest?

No, there is no entry fee to the Theresienwiese area and all the tents are free to enter.

Can I enter the beer tents without a reservation?

Yes, you can enter the beer tents without reservation but since the tents get really full in no time, it is recommended that you make reservations well in advance. During the weekdays, the tents close within 11 am and during the weekends, the tents stay open until afternoon.

How to make a reservation for the beer tents?

Contact the respective beer tents either in person or online to make a reservation.

I don't drink alcohol and I am a vegetarian, what does Oktoberfest have in store for me?

While it's common to feel left out and think Oktoberfest is not for you, it is not true. Head on to Weinzelt Tent and you have over 15 different varieties of wine, champagne, and sparkling wine to choose from. Given the increase in the popularity for Vegetarian food, you can find it almost in every beer trolley. Further, there are cakes and pastries available at the Bodo's Cafe.

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Suprise fact - Oktoberfest is not just aimed at people who love to drink and party all night, it is also aimed at families. To make it fun and interesting for the families there are several rides on the spot which include Höllenblitz, XXL Racer, Voodoo Jumper, Teufelsrad, Drifting Coaster, Skyfall, and Merry-go-round.

Is smoking allowed inside the tents?

No smoking is not allowed inside the tents let alone in Bavaria. As per a no-smoking law put out in August 2010, smoking is prohibited in all bars, pubs, and restaurants in Bavaria. There are dedicated smoking areas in the tents though.

Where to stay? 

Try booking your accommodation well in advance. There are hotels that accept reservations prior to a year as well. Yes, that is how crazy the hotel bookings are. The closer you are booking your accommodation to the festival grounds, easier it is for you to commute. The only downside is, the beds are expensive. Camping is not allowed. You might as well try your luck in Couchsurfing.

What should I wear to Oktoberfest?

Traditional clothes are the way to go for Oktoberfest. For Men, it is lederhosen (preferably blue & white) and for women, it is dirndl (preferably pink, blue, turquoise, & purple). While they are not compulsory to wear, most of the foreigners do make it an effort to follow the tradition and the whole area looks splendid with people dressed up in traditional outfits. There are stores close by where you can buy the outfit as well.

Are children allowed?

While children are welcome to Oktoberfest, it is recommended that you don't involve them more often. It can get really loud and messy at times and children are slow to adapt to that kind of environment. Further, children under the age of 6 are allowed only till 8 pm inside the tents even if they are accompanied by their parents and baby carriages are allowed from Sunday to Friday until 6 pm. On Saturdays, they are barred from entering.

What are the operating hours?

Beer serving hours

Opening day: 12.00 pm - 10.30 pm
Weekdays: 10.00 am - 10.30 pm
Saturday, Sunday, & other holidays: 9.00 am - 10.30 pm

Stalls operating hours

Opening day: 10.00 am - 12:00 am
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 11.30 pm
Friday: 10.00 am – 12.00 am
Saturday: 9 am - 12.00 am
Sunday: 9 am - 11.30 pm

Fairground attractions & sideshows

Opening day: 12 pm - 12 am
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 11.30 pm
Friday, Saturday: 10.00 am – 12.00 am
Sunday: 10 am - 11.30 pm

Oktoberfest 2017 ends on 3rd of October 2017 at 11.30 pm

Budget Oktoberfest

  • Do not try to bring your dogs along. They are not permitted.
  • Avoid bringing large bags and backpacks exceeding the dimensions of 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm or volume of 3 Kgs are not allowed
  • The food inside the tents is very expensive. Try walking outside, you can get sausages for a cheaper price.
  • Drink a lot of water and keep yourself hydrated while you are there.
  • Carry a hand sanitizer. You will thank me later.
  • Don't hoard the seats inside the tent. It annoys fellow drinkers and the waiters as well.
  • Do not try chugging. Oktoberfest is a marathon and not a sprint.

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