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John, Peggy, Jeannie and Matt

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is the worlds largest folk festival held yearly in Munich, Germany. It began in 1810 when Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig married Theresa of Saxony (Sachsen-Hildburghausen). The townsfolk held a party in a large field outside the city to celebrate and it was so popular, they held it again a year later. The same field has hosted the festival ever since and came to be named 'Theresienwiese' or 'Theresa's meadow' in English. The rest as they say, is history! It is, without a doubt, the largest festival in the world. Much bigger and bolder than anything you have ever seen, it regularly draws over 6 million people through it's 16 day run.

When is it?

Although called Oktoberfest and originally beginning on Oct 12th, the Wiesn began to start in September in 1872 to take advantage of better weather. To find out when any years festival starts, just find the first Sunday in October and count back 15 days to the starting Saturday. The year 2016 will be the 183rd festival and starts on the 17th of September and runs through October 3rd.

What's it all about?

The simple answer to many people would be, "It's about the Bier!" While that may be true for a lot of folks, drinking isn't the only thing to do there. The Oktoberfest grounds are over 100 acres large and host a dazzling array of bier tents, food stands, carnival rides, games and more. Many families enjoy taking the children to Oktoberfest and in fact, Tuesdays at the Fest are family days with reduced food, bier and ride prices.

"Show me the tents!"

When it comes to Oktoberfest, the first thing most people think of is huge Bier Tents. Entering one for the first time is certainly an awe inspiring event. Most people have only seen crowds like this at sporting events and rock concerts. But you haven't seen 'crowded' until you behold a full tent on a Friday or Saturday night. As far as I can tell, there are few laws around maximum occupancy in Germany and if the doors to a tent are closed, you can be sure that the people inside are jammed in wall-to-wall.

The tents fill up fast, especially on weekends. I find it best to get there early in the day, 10 or 11 am at the latest. Have yourself a nice meal and start drinking. The band will begin to play and the crowd will start to rock. By mid evening, people will be standing on the benches and you will have no choice but to follow suit...unless you want bier spilled down your back!

Watch the video of the Bräurosl tent from 2008 here to the left. Then click on the Tent names below or in the map to see more info on each of the largest bier tents.

1- Marstall

2- Armbrustschützen-Festhalle

3- Hofbräu-Festzelt

4- Hackerbräu-Festzelt

5- Schottenhamel Festhalle

6- Winzerer Fähnd'l

7- Schützen-Festhalle

8- Käfer's Wiesnschänke

9- Weinzelt

10- Löwenbräu-Festhalle

11- Bräurosl

12- Augustiner Festhalle

13- Ochsenbraterei

14- Fischer-Vroni

Map of Oktoberfest Marstall Armbrustschützen-Festhalle Hofbrau Hacker Schottenhamel Winzerer Schutzen Kafer Weinzelt Lowenbrau Braurosl Augustiner Ochsen Fischer-Vroni

Live Webcams and Satellite Views of the Wiesn.

Google Map picture of Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Click Here!

new gif The 2016 maximum Bierpreis will be €10,60! new gif

More than Bier...

There is certainly more to see and do at the fest grounds than going to the largest bier tents. Mouse over any of the smaller tents and attractions listed below and click for more info.

Ammer Tent


Carousel Bar

Glöckle Wirt


The Bavaria Statue

The Ferris Wheel

Auf geht's beim Schichtl

Ginger Bread Hearts

Great Food Stands

Live WebCam - The webcam that has been showing a live overview of the Wiesn has been disconnected! I will be looking for a new link. If anyone has one, please email me.

The History of Bier at Oktoberfest

Surprisingly, the first bier wasn't sold until the 8th year of the fest in 1818 and the first large bier tent wasn't set up until 1896. Before that, only small bier stands sold bier. The main events of the early days were horse racing (stopped in 1960) and an agricultural show that is still held every three years. Of course bier is now the overriding thing people think about when they think of Oktoberfest.

The bier at the Fest is supplied by only 6 breweries. Known collectively as "The Big Six", they are:

The bier at Oktoberfest is specially brewed by these breweries and is similar to the Munich Helles style of lager. None of the breweries brew the old, traditional 'Märzen' style of bier you see in the stores come September in the U.S. Surprisingly, 30% of the annual production of these 6 breweries is consumed during the two weeks of Oktoberfest!

Official Posters and Steins of Oktoberfest

Steins commemorating events in Germany have been around forever. Can you guess what year the first official Oktoberefest stein was issued?

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Click on any of the above images to learn more about official Oktoberfest Steins and Posters.

Food at Oktoberfest

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Along with the over 6,000,000 liters of bier that were served at last years Fest, food plays a major role in the enjoyment of this festival. Some of the traditional favorites that should not be missed are:

Oktoberfest Music

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More affectionately known to tourists as Oompah music, Blasmusik is a Bavarian tradition. The band traditionally consists of a singer, accordionist, tuba player and small horn. The members customarily wear Lederhosen and are very likely to also have a Liter of fine German brew at their feet waiting for a sip between sets. The bands at the Oktoberfest run the gamut between traditional Oompah bands and full fledged Rock-n-Roll bands. Electric guitars, drums and keyboards are not uncommon. Early in the evening, around 3PM, is when most tent bands start up. They play traditional favorites at first and progressively get wilder until the evening starts and people start singing and dancing.

One of the other things you may or may not know about Fest music; every year there seems to be a new crowd favorite! There are certainly time honored songs at the Fest. One of them being John Denver's "Country Roads." Yes, you read that correctly. Click on any song in the playlist above. Click here to get Flash 7 (required)

Important Tips for enjoying the Fest!

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Click here for important information about how to enjoy your Fest experience.
Including information on Reservations and other FAQ's

What else is there in and around Munich?

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Giant Pretzels (click for recipe)
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Wonderful Breweries
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Just how big are those Biers?
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Amazing Castles
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WWII History

Still have questions or comments?

Want to enjoy a Bier with me at the next Oktoberfest?

Feel free to Email me. I enjoy hearing from people from all over the world.

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Site last updated: Thursday, Sep 15th, 2016, 06:44:10 EST