The Munich Oktoberfest (known locally as the “Wiesn”) has developed into a spectacular event of superlatives: in 2013, 141 caterers and 173 sideshow operators offer food, drinks and entertainment in an area of around 85 acres. The Bavarian hosts are expecting about seven million fun-loving guests from around the globe.
Visitors have been gathering at the famous Theresienwiese venue since 1810, when nobody could foresee that it would become the world’s largest fair. In 2010, a historical fair was founded to provide visitors with nostalgic impressions of the traditional Oktoberfest. The “Oide Wiesn” (Old Oktoberfest) in the south of the Theresienwiese revives the atmosphere of the good old days. It offers an alternative to the huge razzmatazz of the neighbouring Oktoberfest, especially for families with children and older people. It focuses on Bavarian customs, Munich’s hospitality and traditional folk music. The “Tradition” festival tent is a good illustration: it adds an air of authenticity with tasty delicacies and traditional costume displays. The Oktoberfest beer is served in the established Keferloher, the classic grey stoneware tankard. Whip-cracking (Goasslschnalzer) and the Bavarian shoe-slapping dance (Schuhplattler) add to the atmosphere. The menu in the cosy “Herzkasperl” festival tent proves that the organizers are by no means old-fashioned. In 2013 the choice includes organically produced food, such as grilled chicken (Wiesnhendl) and meat dishes, plus vegan dishes for the first time.
Just like today, visiting the stalls and the travelling funfair attractions was all part of a great trip to the Wiesn in the 19th and 20th century. Guests can ride retro-style in the time-honoured Krinoline carousel or go for a topsy-turvy spin in the Hexenschaukel (Witches’ Swing). And there’s fun in store for both the bike riders and spectators with Juxradln (joke cycling) in the crazy Velodrome. If you are curious about the eventful lives of the travelling show people, the museum tent of the Munich Sideshow Operators’ Foundation offers interesting insights. Prices at the “Oiden Wiesn” are, however, up-to-date. In 2013 the price for a 1-litre tankard of beer (ein Mass) at the Oktoberfest will be between 9.40 and 9.85 euros.
The 180th Oktoberfest in Munich from 21 September to 6 October 2013