Oktoberfest in Germany is one of the biggest fun festivals in the World
Earlier, I have been to the Oktoberfest hosted by Hyatt Hotels, Chennai. But, the actual and original Oktoberfest is no where closer to what hotels host globally. This is one of the biggest fun festivals in the world and the biggest in Germany. Millions of people from across the world come every year to attend this festival. Nearly 6 million people are likely to attend the Oktoberfest in Munich this year.
I have been waiting since last year to visit the Oktoberfest. On 20th September this year, the festival kicked off in style. It was raining in the morning but people thronged to witness the opening ceremony. There were beautiful horse carriages carrying beer casks, music, dance and a parade for nearly 45 minutes. Women were dressed in dirndl and men in lederhosen varying in different colors and sizes based on the tastes and preferences.
Owners start constructing their tents and stall 3 months prior to the festival. It is absolutely surprising and brilliant how much planning and effort go into this massive festival annually.
It is very difficult to reserve a space/seats at big tents. Reservations help but are hard to get. Totally, there are only 14 tents for people to choose from and each has its own specialities and theme. My brother got a reservation somehow through one of his contacts at Kafe’s Wies’ n- Schanke. One could take 8 people with that reservation. It costed us 320 Euros which included food and drinks.
Waiters and waitresses serving drinks and food have a hard time during the festival but they make a lot of money from tips. A person I know for close to a year told me he takes off from his day job for three weeks and works at the Oktoberfest to make more money. It is extremely hard to get a job to work at the festival. Some people apply for years and still do not get it but some get it and makes it a routine every year.
We initially ordered for beer and obatzda, a Bavarian cheese delicacy. It is prepared by mixing two thirds aged soft cheese, usually Camembert and one third butter. Sweet or hot paprika powder, salt, pepper are the traditional seasonings as well as a small amount of beer. I ate Obatzda for the first time and it was very delicious.
Prost (Cheers)! At the Oktoberfest, beer is served only in Mass. The Maß or Mass is the Bavarian language word for a mug of beer. In modern times, aMaß is defined as exactly 1 litre. I ended up having 3 Mass on my first visit and hope to consume more in my future visits.
Since we sat at a Cheese and Chicken tent, I ordered for the latter that comes with Kartoffel
(potato) salad. The chicken I must admit was very tasty, hot, cooked to perfection and was
succulent. On the contrary, the potato salad was cold.
One of our friends ordered for sausages that comes with bread, mustard sauce and a special sauce. There was nothing great about the sausages as I have them regularly and tasted no different to the normal day.
There were men and women selling artefacts, dolls and souvenirs which were exorbitantly priced. One of our friends wanted to purchase a doll and the moment the seller said it costs 45 Euros, we went into a state of shock and decided not to buy.
Men and women often stand on their seats and dance to the live music that is played inside the tents. It is quite a visual treat to see people dancing and singing throughout the day. I saw people getting drunk and sleeping on the roads, stations, and wherever one could find a place. At Oktoberfest, some single men and women bump into each other, befriend and even start a relationship after months. Some men and women even make out after getting sloshed.
The Oktoberfest reminded me of my childhood days in India when my parents took me to exhibitions which had giant wheels, roller coaster rides, food, shops et cetera. The fest is not over yet and I may possibly visit it two more times before it ends on October 5th, 2014.