Don your lederhosen and start polishing your stein glass – Oktoberfest is just around the corner, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever
If you’re a first-time visitor to this legendary beer festival, here’s everything you need to know.
Pack like a pro
It wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without the crazy costumes. Don’t miss out on the chance to get kitted out in lederhosen, best worn with braces over a checked shirt. For women, it’s more traditional to wear a dirndl (think a tight checked dress with cleavage optional) under an apron. Clothes pegs are equally essential items. You can use them to make Wiesn Glupperl – pins inscribed with your first name (or rude word of your choice) and worn on your jacket.
Get up early
Beer festivals and early mornings might not mix, but you’ll have to rise with the lark if you want to get a place in the best tents. Committed revellers catch a festival train at around 7am to allow for navigational difficulties and ensure a spot. Make sure you’re waiting in line for the more popular tents by 8am, ready for the 9am opening.
Listen to your bladder
With 6 million people consuming nearly 8m litres of beer over the Oktoberfest period and only around 100 toilets, the queues for the loo are invariably mammoth. There’s no way to get around waiting in line, but don’t leave it too late – there are unfortunate accidents every year.
Use the napping hill
Yes, there really is a hill at Oktoberfest where beer-addled revellers can take a little time out. It’s most popular after lunch and a great way to recover from the excesses of the morning. If you’d prefer not to nap away your festival time, pace yourself on the drinking front and exercise caution when it comes to mixing beer and carnival rides.
Songs and games
If you really want to get into the spirit of the event, take some time to learn the words of Ein Prosit beforehand. You’ll hear this traditional Oktoberfest song constantly throughout the event and emptying the contents of your stein whenever the strains of Ein Prosit ring out is a popular local drinking game. Other top games to try include Power Hour (everyone in your group takes a shot of beer every minute for an hour without visiting the toilet) and beer pong.
Don’t be a lost-and-found statistic
The list of things that find their way to lost property at Oktoberfest every year is extensive and often downright bizarre. The lost property department process around 4,000 items every year, and past finds have included a daschund, a fishing rod, a pet grasshopper, a wheelchair and a Viking helmet. According to the organisers, at least one pair of dentures gets mislaid every year. The message to would-be visitors? Keep a close eye on your false teeth.
There’s so much to see and do at Oktoberfest that you can’t fail to have a good time. Tuck into traditional Pretzels, Bratwurst and Schnitzel; sample hundreds of different beers by the litre and dance to eclectic live bands. In other words: eat, drink and be merry.