Each year, between late September and early October, the German city of Munich of Bavaria hosts the world’s largest folk festival, the Oktoberfest. The tradition states that the mayor of Monaco has to open with a hammer blow the first barrel of beer saying “O’zapft is”. This gesture marks the beginning of the two weeks of the beer festival. Although today we find it hard to believe, Oktoberfest began as a royal feast in 1810 at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The party appealed so much to the inhabitants of Munich of Bavaria that ever since then, they repeat the event every year, always in the Theresienwiese (Therese’s Meadow), a large outdoor area on the outskirts of Munich.
More than 6 million people flock to the stands that can accommodate about five thousand people each. The tents sell pitchers of beer only to those who are seated, so I recommend booking a table or grab a seat before two in the afternoon (eleven on weekends). The magnificent and colourful stands are all decorated and arranged in a different way and belong to the major breweries that have had the seat in Monaco for centuries: Paulaner, Spaten, Hofbrauhaus, Hacker Pschorr-, Lowenbrau and Augustiner. Just for this occasion, the historic breweries prepare a special beer called Marzen, slightly darker than normal alcoholic beverages.
A huge amusement park is also set up in the large lawn, where you can have a break between each beer. In the stands and stalls you can taste delicious dishes such as Bavarian sausages, Hendl (chicken), roast beef and pretzel.
Finding accommodation in Munich during the Oktoberfest is not easy. It’s best to book a room in a hotel or a hostel in advance. Another very convenient alternative is to arrive at the Oktoberfest in a motorhome.
By Ina K