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Beginning on September 22nd, it will happen again.  Mayor Christian Ude will give the beer tap a mighty blow at noon exactly and announce, “It is tapped!” – upon these words, Oktoberfest 2012 is on!

Each year about 6 million people come from all over the world to demolish millions of pints of beer and over 500,000 roast chickens.  This year, the festival celebrates 201 years of tradition.  The “Zugroaste” (as residents of Munich lovingly call newcomers) who stand for the first time at the gate of the Theresienwiese may ask: “How the hell do I find my way through this sea of intoxicated people, tents, beer gardens and sausage stands?”

Answer: The tripwolf Oktoberfest 2012 Survival Guide

At Oktoberfest you'll learn how to party. Source: flickr

At Oktoberfest you’ll learn how to party. Source: flickr

What to wear? The right outfit

The gentleman slips into his Kracherte (leather pants) and Haferlschuhe (Bavarian rugged shoes), while the lady opts for a dirndl – ranging from the traditional long cotton dirndl to sexy couture. 

When to go? Find the right time:
You should know that on average, there are only enough seats in the tents for one out of every four visitors to the “Wiesn,” and it’s even more crowded on the weekends. Another important thing to note is that the second weekend is know as the “Italian weekend,” when some 100,000 of Germany’s southern friends invade the Oktoberfest festivities. So if you want to get in, the earlier the better!

Where? So hard to decide:
Which tent should I choose, anyway? There is a wide range of tents to choose from; there are 14 large tents and 17 medium/small tents.  The classics are:

– The Schottenhammel: A must on the day of the opening tap. During the weeks that follow, traditional fraternities and Munich’s youth come and go in a continuous stream.
– The Hippodrome: During the festival, the living room of Munich’s in-crowd; some celebrities are often spotted here. If you want to get in, you MUST make reservations…or get associated with a table.  Walk in, and be very friendly and you might be lucky enough to stand next to them a order some brews.

– The Hacker Festival Tent: Heaven in Bavaria: Lively atmosphere with a mixed crowd underneath the unique ceiling painting, over 13,000 square feet.
– The Hofbräu Festival Tent: Especially popular with international guests. The opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world!!

– The Löwenbräu: Generally hosts an older and more sedate crowd, but it is certainly one of the classics.

– The “Oide Wiesn”: Back to basics! Visitors were so delighted by the historic Oktoberfest 2010 that the city council decided to revive this supplement to the Oktoberfest, the “Oiden Wiesn,” to keep the old traditions going.  But this year the 125th ZLF (Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival ) will take place as every 4 years, so there will be no “Oide Wiesn.”  More info below.

Wiesn-party - the right outfit is part of the game. Source: Marcus

Wiesn-party – the right outfit is part of the game. Source: Marcus

How? Getting into your tent of choice:
How do I get into the tent? This problem is an annual challenge even for Munich natives. Several possibilities here:

– Reserve or get to know someone who has reserved (since the reservations are distributed about a year in advance, this plan will unfortunately not work for most visitors).
– As already mentioned, arrive early! On weekends, there are crowds line up at the foot of the Bavaria as early as 8 a.m. looking to grab a seat.
– Become the doorman’s best friend, just like in any other line! (Show and little something something, ladies.)
– Get to know the waiters at the beer garden right in front of the tent, perhaps one of them can get you in.

– Tip your servers well.
– Other than that, we’ve heard wild stories of bribes of up to 100 € and getting smuggled in inside a service cart…

What else is there to do? Action away from the beer:
In addition to the beer tents (beer, beer, beer), the Oktoberfest also offers countless rides and carnival attractions, including some real rarities, such as:

– The Vogelpfeifer: The smallest stand at the Oktoberfest should be easy to find, because you can hear the songs of the birds from almost anywhere. There you can show off your bird imitation skillz.
– The Flohzirkus: Since 1948, Oktoberfest has had a real flea circus with a real flea dressage! In 2005 the owners ran out of fleas shortly before the start of the Oktoberfest, but helpful dog owners were able to rescue the circus just in time. Interesting and unique…for certain.

– The Toboggan: A huge tower slide and one of the oldest rides at the Oktoberfest, the ascent is especially adventurous. The passenger jumps to get on a treadmill moving at high speed to get to the the top of the 100-foot-high tower. It looks so easy when the staff does it, but it takes some practice.

Feldl’s Devil Wheel: A real classic. While you sit with a few other volunteers on a giant rotating disk, the staff makes every effort to get you to fall off. Staying there with a rising blood alcohol content level is a true challenge — and real fun for spectators and participants alike.

– The Olympia Looping: A roller coaster with five loops, inspired by the symbol of the Olympics. Anyone for whom Feldl’s Devil Wheel was not enough, the “five-loop” is just the thing.

– Don’t forget the “Riesenrad.” Perfect for taking in the evening view with your sweetheart.
– The “ZLF”: The theme of the jubilee festival is “Agriculture as center of life.” A reproduction of a globe that can be walked through will be installed at the center and is to symbolize the global importance of agriculture and forestry as well as food industry.  The ground floor of the globe will show what ”efficient, innovative and sustainable agriculture“ means.   At this time of important developments in the field of renewable energies, quality assurance of our food and the theme “seasonal – regional – global” are central issues of the festival.  The performance of our agriculture and forestry shall be promoted, the prejudices against modern agriculture shall be overcome and the sense of responsibility of our farmers towards consumers as well as towards the environment also with respect to global nutrition and global climate change shall be signalized.  It will also be made clear to the farmers and their families that they can be self-confident and proud of their productivity and willingness to perform.
a large animal tent with shows in the large arena will be a particular attraction at the Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival.

Two social evening events will additionally enrich the anniversary festival: a party of the rural youth organization, and, for the first time, a farmer’s ball in the marquee.
– Following a break of several years, the Bayerische Sparkassenverband (Bavarian Association of Savings Banks) will again hold a Savings Bank Day for the agricultural customers of the savings banks in Bavaria. The ZLF 2012 will occupy an area of 120,000 qm. We expect again approximately 650 exhibitors – and according to the current registrations we can already predict one thing: the area will not be large enough so as to satisfy all demands.

– One should not neglect to buy a gingerbread heart (“a heart for Herzl”) at the Wiesn, your friends will thank you!

Wiesn-fun - traditional but totally in fashion. Source: Marcus

Wiesn-fun – traditional but totally in fashion. Source: Marcus

Where to go – after 10 p.m.?

Hastily order your last Mass (liter of beer) and check out the remaining singles (assuming you are looking for an “Oktoberfest Gspusi,” or affair). At 10:30 p.m. most of the tents have closed for the night. But anyone who still has energy can continue partying in two tents (Käfer’s Wiesn Schänke and Weinzelt) until 1:00 a.m. It is probably a good idea to think ahead — get there before 10:30 when everyone else will want to get in, get into a friendly conversation at the security entrance in the back of the tent.

Wiesn after hours?

Anyone who still wants to continue partying can find one of the numerous Oktoberfest after-parties. If you don’t want to take a taxi or the subway, there are plenty of clubs near the Oktoberfest grounds. Otherwise, all the trendy clubs in Munich have special “after-Wiesn” parties. But expect lines and entrance fees — unless you have the MyWiesn App! This iPhone & Android app has info on the latest parties and events around the Oktoberfest and provides its users with daily specials and special admission offers, such as reduced entry, a free welcome drink, and many raffles for guests and VIP specials.


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