As a 26 year old American I have been to my fair share of beer festivals. I have even produced my own with livingsocial. I knew this was the Mecca. During our bike tour I was excited to learn what this amazing event was and why it happened in Munich.
I learned that King Max (the one with all the burned down buildings) had a son, Ludwig, who was proposed to marry 182 years ago. Ludwig loved to celebrate and his wedding was going to be no different. The wedding was supposed to last for 4 days starting on October 12 1810. Everyone in Munich was invited to celebrate this event. But it went on for 2 weeks straight instead. Each year after their wedding everyone was invited back to celebrate their anniversary and thus Oktoberfest was born. It is held today in Theresa’s meadow which is named after Ludwig’s wife.
This year was the 182nd annual celebration. Oktoberfest shares some amazing stats regarding the huge festival:
- 5.9 million guests attended
- 114 oxen, 50 calves were eaten
- 7.7 million liters of beer were consumed
This might be my favorite statistic though
- Lost and found items: 600 passports, 580 wallets, 320 mobile phones, 220 bags and rucksacks, 18 cameras, 230 glasses
Throughout this whole area there are 14 large tents. We went to 6 of them in 3 days which is pretty impressive considering the size.
Here is the quick and dirty on the tents. They hold upwards of 1000 to 10,000 people in each tent. Each has a theme and an intricate history. This is much much more than a few pop up bars where you can taste different beers.
- Armbrustschutzen: 58,000 people
So many of the tents serve Paulaner it is hard to say which tent is actually the Paulaner tent. Do not try and ask what other types of beer they have or if you can have a flight. Its one type and its in a litre stein, size big or small.
- Hofbräu Festzelt: 6,800 people
HB is probably one of the most famous tents and beers in Germany. The Hofbrauhaus in Munich is a must see.
- Hacker: 9,300
Hacker could probably be the most famous tent for the inside. I mean look at it! Its absolutely beautiful and definitely the best in my opinion. When we went to this tent we were seated immediately which I didn’t even know happened. We met some great Germans visiting from another city. I appreciated them struggling through English to answer all the questions I had. They even complimented our dirndls saying they looked authentic. A+ all around.
- Augustiner-Festhalle: 6,000
We could not have been in and out faster in this tent. It is “Christmas themed” which means lots of ribbons, garland and wreaths. In for the bathroom, to stare at the Christmas decor and back out to the fun.
- Winzerer Fähndl: 8,400
Tent number 1. This was the welcome to Oktoberfest experience I had been excited for. You can read all about it in my first post. If any tent was called the Paulaner tent it would be this one.
- Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke: 1,000
As authentic and German as it gets; the VIP German tent was my first experience at Oktoberfest.
Germany, you were an amazing host. Thank you for the food, culture and beers.