Seriously, you cannot say you’ve been to a party until you’ve been to Oktoberfest, the biggest beer festival in the world! You can quote me on that because my personal experience tells me that this entire beer festival surely puts the Las Vegas experience to a shame! Oktoberfest is a party that is celebrated across the world, but the biggest and original celebration of all is found in Munich, Germany, where giant drinking tents are put up around the city and filled with plenty of people dressed up in traditional Bavarian clothes (lederhosen for guys, dirndls for girls) drinking beer, beer and beer!
I’m kidding! It’s not just a party, it’s actually a 16-day beer festival held annually in Munich, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It’s also known that every year, around 7 million people visit Munich to celebrate “Wiesn”, a nickname for Oktoberfest known by the locals.
But why is it called Oktoberfest if it starts in September?
Good question. Munich’s first Oktoberfest took place with one-week celebration in honor of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s wedding to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city, which the locals call “Wies’n” (which means grass, and is why Oktoberfest is nicknamed Wiesn in Germany). The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a public feast and horse races as entertainment.
However, it wasn’t until 1819 until the beer started flowing in. That was when the beer vendors began replacing the annual horse races.
Truth to be told, Germans do party hard, so the Oktoberfest were eventually stretched into 16-day festival. Because of the millions of visitors coming in to check out the beer festival, the dates were moved up to move the start date up to take advantage of September’s warmer weather allowing a much bigger number of attendance.
It had been a dream of mine to check off the beer festival for years and I almost went last year, but I’m glad I went to this year though!
It was around early September last year when I decided to drop everything and hop on that plane to Thailand with my buddy, Mic Dolan, and we originally agreed that we would go straight to Munich for the Oktoberfest then travel a bit in Europe and then off to somewhere else. That was when I had no idea that I would start Seek the World.
I ended up changing the plans and went straight to Thailand because we realized that we wouldn’t be able to travel long if we went to the festival first. It would be unwise of us according to our budget at that time. Not only that, our friends highly encouraged us to and convinced me that it was wise to do so as we could extend our trip with the budget we had for Thailand.
A year later, I was traveling with my Grandpa in Europe. Meeting so many Deaf people throughout the trip had me so determined to go to Oktoberfest, and it was fortunate that it fitted my schedule. Plus, I was convinced that this year would be one of the biggest one, especially for the Deaf people who confirmed to attend. I knew this one would be the greatest one for me.
I just had to go. Having Grandpa go with me was a huge bonus for me. Besides, I needed it nonetheless, I wanted to have some fun away from this travel blog. It was also an opportunity for me to expand my network with people from different countries. You’d never know what those networks could lead you to. One did lead me to a place to live in Germany after my trip in Italy with Grandpa.
Prost to Oktoberfest 2015!
Admittedly, I definitely underestimated Oktoberfest before coming. i thought it would be just one fun festival, but it was actually a lot more than that. I didn’t come here for the entire two weeks, but I was here for 5 days. Germans would say I’m crazy for that because only tourists would come and stay for more than a day. Most Germans would come here for a full day.
I was overwhelmed with so many people having a good time, celebrating, and drinking good beer. There were 14 beer tents to choose from.
I was here between September 23-26th. Yes, I had missed the the official opening ceremonies with the Mayor of Munich tapping the first keg before anyone could start drinking.
On the first day, I went to the World Famous Hofbraü Festzelt, but on the rest of the days, I went to Hacker Festzelt, where you would get the feel of being in the “Bavarian Heaven.” Literally, you’d be surrounded by clouds and stars plus liters and liters of steins with beer spilling all over the place.
It was about 11am on that day when I entered the World Famous Hofbraü Festzelt, and it was totally packed.
“Prost!” my friends cheered their steins when they saw me arriving. It meant ‘cheers’ in German, by the way. A German explained that you shouldn’t hold the mug by its handle. It would be important for you to curl up your hand and fingers on the mug and let the handle of the mug hang between your thumb and index finger when you clink your stein with others.
My Grandpa originally didn’t want to drink, but after he tasted the beer there, he decided to join the hype—he’s young at heart. However, that didn’t meant he actually drank as much as everybody, but he drank three liters instead of none. I would think that said a lot.
Keep in mind that the beer tents are free to enter, but a liter of beer is typically 10 euros (~$10.50 US Dollars), and most full meals are 12–15 Euros. You can get snacks and small meals for around five euros.
The beer would just keep coming to us. There would be tons of beautiful waitresses in dirndls bringing the beer to you. I believe I had more than three, but I was so drunk after the second one. I continued to drink with the hype regardless.
Outside the beer tents had a carnival. Literally, a carnival with games, rides, and even haunted houses. It didn’t feel like the Oktoberfest I was expecting until I got inside the tents. But I didn’t really ride any of them, which I wished I did. I just went straight into the beer tents and met up with my friends there who came from different countries to drink and have fun!
The Deaf Oktoberfest Event
After three days in a row of partying, I survived the experience and had a great time, made a lot of new friends, and hardened my liver a bit—I’d admin that I couldn’t say no to the ladies who forced me to chug on some more beer.
But Oktoberfest wasn’t over for me until I had gone to the event reserved for Deaf people from all over the world. The event was at the Hacker Festzelt.
It lasted the whole day Saturday, October 26th at the Hacker Festzelt during the day and then it moved to a Deaf club that was around 45 minutes away from the event.
Upon my arrival, I was blown away by over 800 Deaf people at the event. It was like the crowd was bouncing together. Insanely hectic, I’m telling you. I had to walk through the crowd, which was hard, but I managed to find my friends though.
When I tried purchasing a tap of beer from their vendor, the server actually handed me one for free because he had been following this travel blog and he was inspired by it. There were so many people there who knew me through following Seek the World’s Facebook page.
Everybody was crazy and I met awesome people from Germany (most of them were though), Italy, Turkey, Romania, France, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and many more that I couldn’t list here. Too many to remember all. I think you get the point here.
It was the best feeling ever. I lost track of time and I remembered being challenged to some beer-chugging contests. I learned so much from my new friends. It was like the perfect place to exchange culture between people from different countries. That was what made this party even more unique as everybody was in unity.
When the day event was over at 11pm, all Deaf people gather up and headed to the Deaf Club for the via the Bahn train system.
Clearly, it was a post-party that went on all night from 10pm to 5am. It was already planned and announced. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Before I knew it, I began to receive a lot of free beer at the event. I didn’t even pay a penny after paying 5 euros for admission to this event. By the time I was drunk, I had forgotten to eat—I had a huge breakfast, but that was it. I didn’t eat at all the entire day, but I was alive with full of energy. I spent most of the time chatting with all of the people I met there.
Not eating for lunch and dinner was the biggest mistake I made because the next thing I remember was waking up on the train heading to the airport. I had lost my GoPro camera. I was so puzzled because I didn’t know why I decided to head to the airport. I had no reasons to go to the airport because I already planned to take the train south to Italy with Grandpa after the Deaf event.
I got off the train during one of the stops and returned to my friend’s place where I was staying at with my Grandpa to find out what happened. Luckily, I also found out that one of my friend had my GoPro camera, which was a huge relief because I didn’t want to lost all of the videos and photos that I had taken on the camera. it was returned to me eventually before I headed south to Italy with Grandpa.
Although I was disappointed that I didn’t remember the night, but I still just couldn’t believe what happened. I had spent over $300 during my time at Oktoberfest. It was totally crazy, but I’m glad my liver survived though.
Besides all that, there are a couple of things I wish I had done during the festival. I know you wouldn’t want to make the same mistakes as I did.
- Make time to check out the carnival. I didn’t have the chance to actually check out the entire event. I just went straight into the drinking tents and partied hard. I wish I had made the time to explore the carnival.
- Be sure to eat well before, during and after. A big breakfast is ideal, and remind yourself to eat again for lunch and dinner. Otherwise, you could end up heading to the airport by yourself for no reasons like I did. I wouldn’t want that to happen to you.
Other than that, Oktoberfest was a blast and unforgettable.
After the Oktoberfest is before the Oktoberfest! Get ready for 2016:
Oktoberfest in Munich will open its gates once again from September 17th to October 3rd 2016. With the 3rd of October being a national holiday in Germany, the Oktoberfest 2016 will be 17 days along instead of 16. More fun for you all!
Learn more about the important events of the Oktoberfest 2016 at this link.