If you’re headed for the massive beer tents at the Oktober Fest in Munich, Germany this year – have one on us and cheers! Here’s the when, where, how and what’s new questions answered, and why the Oktober fest is acutally held in September.

Dates: Sept 16 – Oct 3, 2017.

Where: Theresienwiese, a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre.

Getting there: It’s best to use public transport. There’s no parking and it’s eco-friendly.

Don’t miss: On Saturday, September 19, the Schottenhamel tent is home to the official opening ceremonies. At noon, the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. And of course, there’s the famous Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade that happens every year on the first Sunday (starts at 10 am). The parade starts at the Josephspitalstrasse in the Munich city centre, then the parade marches along Sonnen- and Schwanthalerstrasse and to the Oktoberfest via Bavariaring. The following Sunday sees the traditional concert of the Oktoberfest brass bands at 11 am.

Opening hours: Beer Serving Hours on opening day: 12 noon – 10.30 pm. Weekdays 10 am – 10.30 pm. Saturday, Sunday & holiday 9 am – 10.30 pm. Daily closing hour: 11.30 pm. Käfers Wiesnschänke and Weinzelt open until 1 am.

Oktober fest at night. Photo: Softeis via Wikimedia Commons

Oktober fest at night. Photo: Softeis via Wikimedia Commons

The beer tents: Augustiner-Festhalle is family friendly and considered the friendliest beer tent, the Schottenhamel is one of the most important tents of the Wiesn, as everything starts inside this tent.  In 1867, it was just a small beer booth with 50 seats, and has become the largest Wiesn tent with about 10,000 seats. The Weinzelt (The Wine Tent) is not about beer actually, but serves a selection of wines, Sekt (sparkling wine) and champagne. Pschorr-Bräurosl takes its entertainment seriously: a tent-own yodeler, who answers to the name “Bräurosl” ensures a good atmosphere and traditional Bavarian songs. When “Bräurosl” goes on a break, the Luwig Thoma-Musicians take up the beat and pump up the heat.

Inside the Hippodrom. Photo: Aschuff/ CC BY SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Inside the Hippodrom. Photo: Aschuff/ CC BY SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Food at Oktoberfest: Fischer Vroni offers an authentic grilled ‘fish on a stick’. Ochsenbraterei, where an over-dimensional ox is slowly turning on a huge spit, serves a variety of different oxen specialties. Schützen-Festzelt has the suckling pig prepared in an authentic Bavarian manner in malt beer sauce and served with potato-salad.

Price: A “Mass”, one litre of beer, will cost between €9.70 and €10.10 this year.

Photo: Markburger83/ CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Markburger83/ CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Where to get the best Bavarian beer: 

  • Augustiner: Augustiner-Festhalle, Fischer-Vroni
  • Paulaner: Armbrustschützenzelt, Winzerer Fähndl, Käfer’s Wies’n Schänke
  • Spaten-Franziskaner: Marstall, Schottenhamel, Ochsenbraterei/Spatenbräu-Festhalle
  • Löwenbräu: Schützen-Festzelt, Löwenbräu-Festhalle
  • Hacker-Pschorr: Hacker-Festzelt, Pschorr-Bräurosl
  • Hofbräu: Hofbräu Festzelt

What’s new this year: The new Daemonium attraction is set up over four levels and offers a walk through a haunted house. Or try the Konga, billed as Europe’s biggest and fastest swing. At the Oide Wiesn, daredevil motorcycle drivers will show their skill at the “Original Motodrom”.

So why call it “Oktoberfest” if it begins in September?: The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17 with a horse race. The celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward to September.

Makes sense as you get better weather to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over “die Wiesen” or the fields for much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.

For more information, log on to the Oktober fest site.