26 September 2016
Oktoberfest: What is it like?
Last week I was lucky enough to take a group of board members and executives over to Germany for the most famous beer festival in the World, Oktoberfest. Held in Munich, the event runs between Saturday 17th September to Monday 3rd October where over that two week period an estimated 6 million people visit and over 7.7 million litres of beer are drunk, that’s correct 7.7 litres, not pints!
Oktoberfest isn’t just about alcohol, the site itself located in Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called the Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s centre is huge, featuring fairground rides, music, food stalls and gift shops where you can purchase the traditional Bavarian Dirndl dress for women and the Lederhosen for men. Nevertheless taking up most of the space is the numerous beer tents that cram up to 10,000 people in them per sitting, normally split into an afternoon session 11am – 4pm and the 5pm – 10pm.
The Hofbräu Festzelt tent is one of the largest and most well-known, famous for its atmosphere this is certainly not one for the faint-hearted. Our group was lucky enough to have tickets for the Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke tent, known as the VIP tent this is on a much smaller scale than the others and from the outside looks like a ski lodge. It also has a fabulous garden terrace and the food and drink is well……plentiful to say the least. Selections of high-end meats, pretzels, traditional gingerbread Wiesen hearts coupled with steins of beer, bottles of champagne & Grey Goose litter most tables.
After a couple of hours, it’s not surprising that people are standing on the benches and tables in high spirits, the Kafer tent stays open until 1am (3 hours longer than the others). With all that alcohol consumption the lost and found office are kept on their toes and as usual, come up with some very surprising finds. Apart from 600 passports, 580 wallets, 320 mobile phones, 220 bags and rucksacks, 18 cameras, 230 glasses and 45 pieces of jewellery and watches, that were found at the 2015 event there are also some unusual items, some of them still waiting to be collected by their rightful owner: Two wedding rings, one brand new iPhone 6 and a 4 tickets for the sold out football match between Bayern Munich and Hannover 96.
Whilst my trip involved the Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke VIP tent it is actually very easy to get tickets for the other tents and attend the annual beer festival relatively cheaply if you book in advance. This certainly is a trip that I would recommend for incentives and one that certainly will appeal to both males and females – it’s also a great excuse to get dressed up!