Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when festivities commenced on Oct. 12 to celebrate the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
While the Crown Prince and his bride have long since passed away, Oktoberfest celebrations continue, and the standard-bearing party in Munich is annually among the world’s most anticipated events.
Those who can’t make it to Germany this October can rest assured that there is likely an Oktoberfest celebration near their homes. Making the most of these celebrations can help revelers feel as if they’re in Munich after all.
- Celebrate with a group. Oktoberfest celebrations are social gatherings where the notion of “the more, the merrier” certainly applies. Many Oktoberfest celebrations are held outdoors, where celebrants sit at communal picnic tables when they aren’t hoisting steins filled with German beer or dancing up a storm as live music plays. Celebrating with a group is not just fun, but also a lot safer than partying alone. Some traditional German beers generally contain more alcohol than other beers — making intoxication occur more quickly. Group members can resolve to look out for one another to ensure no one overdoes it with regard to alcohol.
- Resolve to try new cuisine. While beer might garner the bulk of the attention at Oktoberfest celebrations, food is just as big a part of the festivities. Celebrants who want to get a true Oktoberfest experience outside of Munich can try dishes such as Weisswurst, a type of sausage that is typically made from minced veal and pork back bacon. Schweinshaxe, a roasted ham hock sometimes referred to as “pork knuckle,” is a popular Bavarian dish that can make any Oktoberfest celebration more authentic.
- Get up and dance. Even celebrants who are unlikely to be mistaken for Fred and Ginger anytime soon recognize the important role music plays in Oktoberfest celebrations. While some may mistake it for polka, the music played at Oktoberfest celebrations is actually German oompah. Those skittish about stepping in may want to wait until they (and their friends and family also in attendance) have finished a stein before taking to the dance floor.
n Get home safe. Arrange transportation home before attending an Oktoberfest celebration. Such celebrations tend to be rowdy, and the lively spirit of the festival can make it easy for revelers to lose track of how many steins they have hoisted throughout the day. To ensure everyone arrives home safely, revelers can assign a designated driver from their group or arrange for a taxi or ridesharing service to take them to and from the festival so no one feels the need to get behind the wheel.
Oktoberfest is annually one of the world’s biggest parties, but celebrants need not go all the way to Munich to enjoy a raucous celebration.