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Oct 18, 2012

The Obligatory Oktoberfest Post

I had 3 sound expectations for my first experience at Munich's famed Oktoberfest this year:
1) There'd be beer.
2) There'd be debauchery. And...
3) There'd be boobs.
I'd have to say all those expectations were met--a few even exceeded, but we won't get into all that. In a nutshell, Oktoberfest was awesome. One crazy beer tent after another all housed on the largest fairgrounds I've ever stepped foot on. What's not to love about beer, food, costumes, and carnival rides? Seriously, someone tell me so I can laugh at correct you. There's nothing not to love.

So, I'm sure many of you are wondering what it's really like in there. How the heck do you get a seat in a beer tent? What's with all the German garb? Why in the world do they only sell a liter of beer and not anything smaller? I have no idea the answer to that last one, but the rest I'll be happy to fill you in on. Let's take a journey through the day in the life of an Oktoberfest patron, shall we? 

*Disclaimer: this isn't the typical day of every Oktoberfest patron, it's really just how things went down for us. Also, this post is going to be incredibly long. Just go with it. It'll be like you were right there with me. Promise.*

6:00am (also known as the butt-crack of dawn):
Wake up, put on your sweet new dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress for ladies) or your wicked cool lederhosen (traditional Bavarian outfit for men), and take one last good look at yourself in the mirror. I promise, you won't look the same when you come home that night.
Scarf down a pastry and hop on the train in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (because we refused to pay $250 a night for hotel room in Munich) and travel an hour and 20 minutes through the Bavarian countryside to the Munich Hauptbahnhof.
Shake off the sleep and make your way to the Oktoberfest grounds...in the pouring rain...wearing a dirndl. 
And no, the giant cookies didn't help.
Enter the fest grounds as they open up the beer tents to patrons and realize you might actually get a seat because there are NO LINES...ANYWHERE! Then, make a beeline towards the infamous Hofbräu Fest Tent and pray for tables without "Reserviert"signs.
{Side note: They ONLY serve beer inside the beer tents and in the tents beer garden, so if you wanna drink, you gotta get a seat! To get a seat inside the beer tents you have to do one of two things: A) Make a table reservation with the beer tent you want to sit in, which you must do MONTHS in advance to even think of getting a spot...OR...B) Wake up early, wait in line, and pray to God you get a seat somewhere, anywhere. We chose the latter and thankfully it worked for us. This was the perk about coming on the last day of Oktoberfest, on a Sunday, and in the pouring rain. Coming during the week or in bad weather conditions significantly raises your chances of getting a seat in a tent. You also don't need a reservation for the beer gardens, so make sure you wander around those if the tents are full. If you've got lots of moxie and wanna try your luck at getting in good with someone who has a table reservation to try and snag a seat, by all means, give it a whirl! I have no moxie, so thankfully we didn't have to go that route.
Claim your table and high five your friends because you just got the best seat in the most sought after Oktoberfest tent without reservations! Then proceed to find the coolest waitress in the world and order yourself a massive beer...the Oktoberfest festivities have officially begun!
As the tent begins to fill with rowdy foreigners, you realize you haven't eaten anything but a pastry all morning, so you order yourself a half a chicken...and then another liter of beer. Duh.

Take a million pictures of yourself and your surroundings. You may only get to be here once!

Eat again, because, you know, you've been drinking since 9:30am. This is also when the oompah band begins to play! First song, "Ein Prosit," Germany's favorite drinking song!
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit...
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit!
Loosely translated means: A toast, A toast, to...{wait for it}...cheerfulness, socializing, giddiness, hospitality, festivity, and a sense of belonging. One giant almost unpronounceable word to convey a myriad of feelings. I get it. Can't say it, but I get it. Everyone else in the tent gets it, too. Just watch.

Watch a bunch of people do the liter challenge. What's the liter challenge? Glad you asked! Brave souls stand up on the fest benches and announce to the world that they're going to attempt to chug a liter of beer (the only size of beer sold in the tents) without having the glass leave their lips once...complete task, the whole tent explodes into cheers and applause! Fail, and get booed into oblivion. Seriously. Funniest thing I've ever seen. We only saw a handful of failures. Lots of winners, some girls even!
Make your way to the bathroom for what seems like the 4,000th time. And on your way, dance with complete strangers. Folks, it happened EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I went to the restroom. By the end of the day I think I'd danced with everyone in that friggin' tent. You'll never find more friendly people than at Oktoberfest. Video proof below. {And don't worry, I never went to the bathroom alone. Ladies, never be alone at Oktoberfest. Buddy system all the way.}

Contemplate leaving the tent to try your luck in other tents...then realize this IS the coolest tent, why would you ever want to leave?!? So, you order another beer and the band busts out a little Dirty Dancing. Have I mentioned how much I love this country?

Meet up with friends and enjoy the camaraderie!
Tap out. You've been drinking and dancing and Prost!-ing since 9:30am. Besides, there's a whole festival full of carnival rides, giant pretzels, and 13 other large beer tents (21 small tents) to see outside. We managed to squeeze in to see 4 other tents, but the Hofbräu tent was our favorite by far.
The Löwenbräu Tent

The Paulaner Tent

The Schottenhamel Tent
A bunch of other tents...
And the boys smoking cigars. Handsome, right? Moving on...
Become a celebrity. You are asked to take photos with every random passerby who's not in a dirndl or lederhosen, and of course, you oblige. :) We have no idea who these people were.
After wandering the fest grounds and beer tents for a while, you end up at the Hippodrome Biergarten for another liter nightcap.

Surrender to the Oktoberfest gods. You're done. Spent. Both in body and wallet. Time to hop aboard the train and head home with all the rest of the party poopers. This, my friends, is the sign of a good freakin' time.

So, there you have it. Germany's Oktoberfest in a nutshell. Friends, if you haven't already, add it to your bucket list. It's the party of all parties. I've never seen anything like it! And even if you're not a beer drinker or party goer, there's really something for everyone outside of the beer tents. Food, souvenirs, carnival rides...the list just goes on and on. It's really the experience of a lifetime! For more information about scoring a seat, enjoying Wiesn (that's Oktoberfest to the Germans), and some common Oktoberfest misconceptions, head on over to Ifs, Ands, & Butts blog! She's been to Oktoberfest 4 times and is basically an expert, I've decided. As for next year, we'll be attending Munich's Oktoberfest counterpart in Stuttgart...VOLKSFEST! I'm excited to see how it will compare. Until then, drink responsibly. Tschüss!


  1. I love this post! I have always wanted to go to Oktoberfest! You did a great job with the explanations and the pictures! Looks like so much fun!



  2. I loved this post. It looks like you had an awesome time!

  3. How fun is this!! My sister lives in Germany and went this year and I was so jealous... the pictures she got were so fun! Your dirndl is adorable :)

  4. You guys look adorable. I HAVE to do this in my lifetime. This looks like a blast.

  5. Oh my goodness... this makes me miss Europe soooo much!!!

    I went to Poland during Euro cup and it was insane! Those europeans know how to PAR-TAY!

    Loved your outfit, btw :) And your dance session with randoms. We could totally be friends hahaha

  6. I just got back from Oktoberfest and I had a blast as well. (What's funny is that I have a blog waiting to be posted that is in the SAME format as yours!) It's so hard to describe everything that happens in 1 day...absolute madness! Glad you guys had a great time :)

  7. Loved this post! Thanks for taking me along on your adventures :) Real Oktoberfest has always been on my bucket list. Also, I may or may not have had a giant cookie with "ich leibe dich" in pink frosting hanging on my bedroom wall as a child. :)

  8. I absolutely love this post and the pictures, looks like you all had a wonderful time!

  9. Shut the front AND back door. Holy cow that looks like a freaking amazing time. Now I REALLLLLLLY hope we're staying...at least until October so we can go up there next September. So awesome. Loved all the videos, too! By the way, the baby totally started dancing around for the Dirty Dancing song :)

  10. Found ya through the link up. Glad I did! :)

    Happy Thursday!

  11. This looks awesome! Looks like I'll be saving up to hop a plane and check it out. I also applaude you for starting to drink and lasting the whole day. I would have been done by 2. haha

  12. I am so jealous!! I want to do this so bad! I actually don't even like beer (AT ALL!) but I want to dress up in a dirnl :-)

  13. Dear Casey,
    I will absolutely, definitely be going to Oktoberfest in Munich. I have read about it and thought I'd do it next year. Next year can't happen, due to a friends wedding. Maybe 2014 could happen? So is going during the week a better chance at getting a seat in the tent? Esther Norine Designs

  14. Looks like you guys had SO much fun! I'd love to go to an Oktoberfest in the future :)

  15. Thanks for the shoutout! How precious do y'all look, seriously. Favorite outfits on the planet! Great post. I can tell you weren't there on a Saturday and smarty pants you! Volksfest is a blast! We should meet up there next year! Actually... even earlier plan Frühlingsfest in Stuttgart in April. It's bigger than their Volksfest and such a blast!

  16. What a fabulous event and you looked awesome!

  17. it really is as fun as your pictures!! my husband and I went when we were young like you and yes....sooo fun!!
    lucky you!
    I am your newest follower from the hop..pls follow back if you can.
    someday, we'll go back!

  18. I loooove this post! I felt like you could have been describing my trip EXACTLY! Kinda brought tears to my eyes watching the videos, honestly. I would love to go again next year. Honestly, it was one of the funnest days of my life. And congrats on taking so many great photos and videos! We hardly took any!

  19. Looks like you guys had a BLAST! Love it. My brother went to Germany for Oktoberfest while on his R&R recently. He wouldn't disclose about all his fun but I know he enjoyed it fully.

  20. I LOVE your blog! I'm a new GFC follower :)

  21. The fact that random people wanted their picture taken with you all cracks me up!!

  22. Looked like great fun! I live in Canada, home of the second largest Oktoberfest! It's in Kitchener, Ontario.........and it's all about the beer!!
    Connie from Sadieloohoo

  23. Oh my! It looks like a ridiculous amount of fun!! Oktoberfest is currently on my bucket list! haha My husband and I are dying to go! It is great to see you making the most of a culture so different to your own!! Love it! You make me want to jump on a plane NOW!!

  24. One of my favorite posts by you so far. I almost felt like I was there. What a blast! You two looked absolutley great in your outfits! Love it! Have a good weekend!

  25. what an epic event to go to! I knew someone that went last year but they didn't sell it like this did. I want your outfit.. I want to go..!!!

  26. I love your post and all the pictures! Thanks for sharing..I've always wanted to go.


  27. that looks like so much fun! My sister just happened to be there this year, but I don't think she partied like you guys! Which is sad, really, because it looks like she missed out on a good time :)

  28. Wow what a festivity! Tell me though, how many piles of puke do you walk by toward the end of the day? I would go and take the long bus ride there just for the giant cookies!!! I am such a light weight though, I'm sure I'd have to eat a ton just to keep up with it all. I love the garb too!

  29. LOVE the pictures! Looks like you had a ton of fun and is definitely something everyone should do!

  30. OH my gosh that looks like so much fun! So adding this one to my bucket list :)
    And yep those beers are huge! love your cute clothes.

  31. Adding Oktoberfest to my bucket list now! Looks like sooo much fun! Thanks for sharing!

  32. I liked the post.It's good to know about the post.Enjoy it. Hotel Frankfurt

  33. Did you book your train ticket to and from Oktoberfest in advance? I would assume so but we're planning on going this year and I was thinking it would be a good idea so I wanted to get advice lol.


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