I went to Oktoberfest! The real one in Munich!
I cannot describe how amazing it was to actually get a table on the first day! The energy was crazy. Waiters are carrying 12 liters of beer down the aisles. There’s a brass band in the middle of the tent, and people are all standing on the benches in lederhosen and dirndls.
I was there with two friends who had never been either, so it was great to see their reactions. We found a table full of Swiss men in their twenties. With lederhosen, of course.
Then came the songs! There’s Ein Prosit (I Salute You), where everyone waves the huge beer glasses while singing. Next was a children’s song about animals. Fliegerleid (The Flier Song) comes with hand gestures! You fly and swim and hop and then grab hands and sway. So fun! We also heard Hey Baby If You’ll Be My Girl and Working 9 to 5. Megan and I two-stepped to that last one.
I was also really excited about getting in on the first day, because I read it was impossible. You needed a reserved table, which runs about a grand. Or you had to be in line at 7:30. Impossible, I say.
So that day we got up for a leisurely breakfast. We watched the parade of Clydesdales pulling barrels of beer and wagon-loads of Bavarian revelers. Then we toured the Wiesn – the site of the tents and amusement park rides.
Finally Megan casually said “let’s get a beer”. Of course, they don’t sell any in the park. Only in the beer tents. And only if you’re sitting at a table. So that was our challenge.
We used no strategy at all. We just looked for an entrance at the nearest tent, which was Hacker Pschorr. We waited at the door for half an hour, and had given up when he finally let us in. Now we’re wandering in a completely full beer hall hoping to find 3 empty seats. Yeah, right.
Suddenly I realized we didn’t need long-term seats. We needed seats just long enough to order beer. We convinced the Swiss guys to let us sit with them “just long enough to get beer” and soon we were drinking, dancing, and joking together. Success!
The next day I saw the end of the costume parade and had lunch at the Paulaner tent. I got to practice Italian with some Germans and French with some frogs. That night we went to the Ochsemel tent, which was also quite lively. Even better, they serve Oxen sandwiches. Yum!
So it was a successful Oktoberfest opening weekend. At this point I want to reserve a table and go again in a couple of years. Prost!