Before leaving Munich Airport, we rent two cars to transport the eleven of us around Germany. We drive to our Airbnb, Château Abraham, and check in. Down a narrow hallway of shared bathrooms and sleeping arrangements, we find our room. After freshening up, we drive to the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich for dinner.

The Hofbräuhaus

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Open since eighteen ninety-seven, the beer hall is popular among tourists and locals. A few lucky regulars store their personalized mugs on the main floor in a padlocked storage cage.

After dinner, we walk back to our parking spot and find it empty. After a lengthy chat with the German police officers, a fine, and a trip to the tow yard, we drive back to our château to get some rest before our two day celebration begins.

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Dressed in on our lederhosen and dirndls we drive to Icking station. Lederhosen are knee length pants with suspenders, usually made of leather worn by men. Authentic lederhosen out of our budget, we settled for 100% polyester costumes on Amazon. Women wear dirndls, a ruffled dress consisting of a bodice, blouse, and skirt. When wearing an apron, the placement of the knot signifies her relationship status. A knot on the left side indicates a woman is single, while a knot on the right side indicates she is taken.

Oktoberfest

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After a short train ride we arrive at Oktoberfest, a celebration of Bavarian culture. The festival lasts sixteen days, commencing on the third weekend in September continuing until the first Sunday in October.

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The second day of Oktoberfest, five miles of musicians, marching bands, dancers wearing traditional uniforms accompanied by floats, horses, oxen, and cows parade through Munich.
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The beer served at Oktoberfest is brewed in Munich from six different breweries: Paulaner Bräuhaus, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Hacker-PschorrAugustiner BräuHofbräu and Löwenbräukeller.

Hofbräu Festzelt

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We begin Oktoberfest in the Hofbräu Festzelt tent, the counterpart to the original Hofbräuhaus.
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Seating nine thousand nine hundred and twenty guests, this tent has the most international visitors. Sixteen tons of hops are used to create the hanging rings from the ceiling.
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In the center of tent hangs Aloisius, the beer angel. The legend is, Aloisius, a former mailman, passed away his angel was instructed to deliver an important message to Munich. But, instead of delivering the message, Aloisius went straight to the Hofbräuhaus for a beer.
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Liter mugs of Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, brewed especially for Oktoberfest at 6.3% abv. arrive at our table along with a ticket to trade in later for half a roasted chicken. Only wheat beer is served in a smaller, half liter mug. The bottom of the glass should be tapped when toasting with a wheat beer to prevent shattering. Prost!

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Oktoberfest Tents

As our four hour reservation in the Hofbräu Festzelt tent come to an end, we venture outside to explore the fairgrounds. Beer is only available for sale inside the tents, and we quickly discover it’s difficult to be served without a reserved seat.

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Oktoberfest consists of fourteen large tents, thirteen serving beer and one serving wine. There are twenty smaller tents serving varieties of foods.

Hacker Festzelt

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Drinking liters of beer beneath a light blue ceiling painted with clouds and stars, patrons feel as if they are in Bavarian heaven inside the Hacker-Festhalle tent. Visitors get a great view of the band as they perform on a revolving stage in the center of the tent.

Spatenbräu

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One of the most popular tents operating since eighteen eighty-one, the Ochsenbraterei, began as a steam powered barbecue tent roasting whole ox. Today the tent serves an average of ninety one oxen each year. Hungry visitors can find an extensive menu specializing in spit roasted oxen.

Ammer

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Specializing in roasted duck and chicken, the Ammer tent, offers specials to families and children. At 7:00pm the Ammer’s Wiesnband brings this tent to life.

Bodo’s Cafe Tent

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The celebration begins in Bodo’s Café Tent at 9:00am with an Oktoberfest breakfast and continues to serve sweet, freshly baked items all day. At 6:00pm wine, champagne, and exotic cocktails transform this family breakfast tent into a party.

Löwenbräu

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Fans of the Munich soccer team meet at Löwenbräu to cheer on the Lions. This tent attracts a lot of attention with eight thousand, five hundred seats, sixteen thousand light bulbs illuminating the tent at night, and a roaring lion welcoming guests.

Armbrustschützen-Festhalle

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The Ambrustschutzen tent is where the Oktoberfest crossbow competition is held. The competition has been taking place during Oktoberfest since nineteen thirty-five. The tent seating seven thousand, four hundred and thirty resembles a hunting cabin with boar heads and deer antlers decorating the walls.

Weinzelt

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Weinzelt is the only tent of the thirteen to serve twenty five varieties of wine, champagne, sparkling wines, and wheat beer. The tent is designed to resemble a hunting lodge with its wooden interior.
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During the day booths are filled with families, but as the sun begin to set things get a little…weird. The Weinzelt tent is known for their nightly live music.

Long after the sun has set, day one of Oktoberfest comes to an end. We take the train back to Icking station, to re-hydrate and get some sleep before Oktoberfest day two tomorrow.


September 2015