Oktoberfest in Munich is right around the corner, folks, and if you haven’t made plans for transportation or accommodations you should probably get moving. Hotels fill up quickly in Munich this time of year so check with the tourist offices to find accommodations outside the city. Unlike the name suggests, Oktoberfest 2006 official opening ceremonies begin Sept. 16. If you wait until October, you’ll merely be catching the last three days of the celebration.
Historically, the first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities were said to begin Oct. 12, 1810, and end Oct. 17 with a horse race. In the years following, the celebrations were repeated, prolonged and eventually moved forward into September to allow for better weather conditions. Warmer September nights allowed visitors to linger longer in the gardens outside the tents and stroll over “die Wiesen” (the meadows) without the chill of the later season nights. The last weekend of Oktoberfest has always been in October and this continues to be the current tradition.
If you want to catch the official opening ceremonies, the place to be is the Schottenhamel Tent. At noon, the lord mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, and only after, will all visitors then be allowed to be served. Most seats inside the tents are already reserved but all is not lost; there is plenty of outdoor seating to be found. If you want to eat or drink, for the most part you must be seated. They won’t serve you a frothy liter unless you are sitting down at one of the tables. Go with friends and save seats while a few watch the parade.
The main highlight of the Oktoberfest events and an important must-see is the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade. The parade happens every year on the first Oktoberfest Sunday which will fall Sept. 19 this year. Other important events are the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the official tapping of the keg, the Oktoberfest Mass “Böllerschießen“ (handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue and – this year − an agricultural festival.
Check with RTT about taking the train or a bus ride to Munich to take care of all of the guess work.
The city of Munich maintains the Web site www.muenchen-tourist.de which offers a variety of information for tourists and visitors. General information about the city of Munich can be found at www.muenchen.de.
Sept. 19 and 26: noon until 6 p.m
Discounted ride, entrance, and sales prices
Carnival and rides:
Mondays to Thursdays: 10 a.m. to
Fridays, Saturdays: 10 a.m. to midnight
Sundays and holidays: 10 a.m. to
Beer serving hours:
Weekdays: 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The beer price will range between €6.95 and €7.50 per liter. The average prices for alcohol-free drinks will be as following: One liter of table water – €5.84 Euros, one liter of Spezi – €6.90, and one liter of soft drink – €6.43
Daily tent closing time: 11:30 p.m.
The “Käfer Wiesn-Schänke” and the “Weinzelt” are open until 1 a.m. Last call for alcohol: 12:15 a.m.
Sales booths (souvenirs, etc.):
Mondays to Thursdays: 10 a.m. to
Fridays: 10 a.m. to midnight
Saturdays: 9 a.m. to midnight
Sundays and holidays: 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Oktoberfests to come:
2007: Sept. 22 to Oct. 7
2008: Sept. 20 to Oct. 5
2009: Sept. 19 to Oct. 4
2010: Sept. 18 to Oct. 3
2011: Sept. 17 to Oct. 3