When many people think of Oktoberfest ideas start to conjure of everyone smiling and dancing and drinking out of liters of beer. Well, this isn't all that uncommon from what you'd see at the festival. Here are some things you might not have known about the famous Oktoberfest.
1. Beer, and More!
There is more than just beer at Oktoberfest. Yes, wine lovers and beer dislikers rejoice! You too can partake in the party. It's even possible to order liters of wine, although I haven't been able to figure out if it's really a liter of wine or half wine and half soda. Either way, it's a lot of alcohol. Radler’s are half beer/half soda and are a sweet choice for those not wanting to fall off their bench. Usually the soda is some sort of sprite.
*Be warned though, asking for water will generally be returned with funny looks and possibly laughs by your server! The last time I asked I was basically refused water. Oh well, beer has water in it.
2. It's A Huge Carnival
Oktoberfest has much more than just tents! This was a delightful surprise for me. I had no idea that there was also a huge fair/carnival as well. There is everything - roller coasters, fair type rides, games with prizes, food stands and more.
3. Live Music
Live bands take the stage during the day and at night. The difference is that the daytime roundup usually includes more traditional songs and the night includes a lot of contemporary songs, many of which are popular US hits such as Sweet Caroline. In between almost every song is a drinking chant where you prost at the end and drink. This would be completely illegal in the U.S. They also play a lot of other American songs, many are oldies and they even play some country too.
There is another festival a few hours North of Munich that has the title of being the second largest beer festival in the world (only next to Oktoberfest). It's called Volksfest, or Wasen, and is located in Stuttgart. Just like Oktoberfest, the Wasen runs for a little over 14 days and shares many of the same characteristics as the famed Oktoberfest. There are 10 large tents that attract about 3.5 million people, many of which are locals but there are also many others from around the world. There are fair rides, games, and it truly resembles Oktoberfest but on a smaller scale. If you're looking for a more authentic 'fest, then this might be the place for you.
5. Keg Tapping
To officially kick off Oktoberfest the lord Mayor of Munich taps the first keg at noon on the first day of the festival. After this point the beer tents are allowed to start serving beer.