1. Oktoberfest is called October but starts in September.
The first version of the festival was in 1810, as a Royal Wedding celebration between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. Over the years, the event was loved by so many; it was then extended and the starting date was changed to September. This was because the weather is warmer for everyone a little earlier in the year.
2. Locals call it “Wiesn”.
Locals affectionately call Oktoberfest the Wiesn, which essentially translates to the meadow. The reason behind this is that it takes place on a giant meadow — the Theresienwiese, named after Princess Therese.
3. It’s a surprisingly kid-friendly zone.
The idea of bringing children to a massive beer festival might seem pretty far out, but the truth is that there are hundreds of children that attend the festival every year.
In 1854 children actually drank beer themselves! This was because Munich was stricken by a cholera epidemic it was seen as a safer option for the children to drink the beer rather than the local water.
4. There’s a wine tent.
Besides beer, there are 15 different variations of wine, champagne and sparkling wine to be found in the Weinzelt – wine tent.
5. The beer is specially brewed for Oktoberfest and it’s extra strong.
One mug of beer here is equivalent to 8 shots of Schnapps. Oktoberfest is, above all, a celebration of Bavarian traditions, so the only beer you’ll find during the festival is brewed within the city limits of Munich. Only beers that fit this criteria are considered Oktoberfest Beers.
The breweries allowed at the Oktoberfest are...
6. Host at Oktoberfest.
Whoever wants to open a food stall or tent has to wait up to 20 years. Yes you read right! 20 years it takes to have a stall at this event. This is because the event is so popular, serving food to around 6.3 million people in 2019 alone from 140 restaurants and food stands. Meaning the waiting list to cater the event is huge!
7. The hairier the hat, the wealthier the wearer.
During Oktoberfest, traditional visitors wear Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte). These conventionally feature a plume of hair attached to the top, the more tufts of goat hair on your hat, the wealthier you are considered to be.
8. Vomit-proof sneakers for Oktoberfest
With so much beer being consumed it’s obvious that some people might feel sick and end up puking… And that’s why Adidas recently released a limited edition of vomit-proof sneakers inspired by the Oktoberfest.
9. Beer mugs are popular souvenirs.
Guests love to take them home. In 2010, 130,000 beer mugs were confiscated and taken back to their tent owners.
10. Nobody raises their mug until the Mayor says so.
Since 1950, the festival has only started after the official gun salute, the mayor shouting O’ zapft is! (“It’s tapped!”) and then offering the first mug to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. Only after these events have taken place can the festival can start.