Oktoberfest 2010

28 Sep

What do you get when you combine a huge fair (think carnival food, the best aromas in the air, bright blinking lights and lightning fast rides full of screaming, smiling people) with the world’s largest bars and thousands of your closest friends?  Well that’s simple…Oktoberfest!

Welcome to Oktoberfest! (Also home of the world's largest mobile ferris wheel!)

Known as the Largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) in the World and the most famous even t in Germany, Oktoberfest is an annual 18-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October.  It attracts more than 7 million visitors to the 104 acre park on the edge of town. 72% of the people are from Bavaria (southernmost region of Germany) and 15% of visitors come from foreign countries (both European Union countries and non-EU countries like US, Canada, and Australia.

In addition to beer and regular ‘fair fare,’ visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare including: Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), *John’s favorite Würstl (sausages) with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut and Weisswurst (white sausage).

Our voyage to Oktoberfest was opening Saturday, so we decided to go a bit early to avoid the craziest rowdiness :).  After stepping off the train (of course we didn’t drive ourselves- safety first, folks!) and wandering around the booths and rides, we opted to grab a quick bite before choosing a ‘tent.’

Mom and Dad decided on sausage hotdogs...John had a brat...

I had a 'double doozie' ham and cheese crepe 🙂

Unfortunately, the weather was doing what it normally does, which meant that it was cold and rainy, but that didn’t stop us- nor anyone else!  Yep, all the people came out in droves- armed with umbrellas- to ride the rides, eat the food and drink the beer!

Before choosing a tent, we wanted to see a few of them up close and personal…These were two of our favorites:

This one looked like spring 🙂

This one had a very ritzy feel...

To give you an idea of all the tent options, here’s what we had to pick from…

  • Hippodrom – One of the smaller tents, it’s the first tent that many visitors see at the fest. As well as serving normal Wiesn beer, it also has a sparkling wine bar.  Considered one of the trendiest tents, it attracts the occasional celebrity.
  • Armbrustschützenzelt – Translates as the “Crossbow Shooters Tent”, a competition that has been a part of the Oktoberfest since 1895.
  • Hofbräu-Festzelt – The counterpart to the famous Hofbräuhaus, this tent is especially popular with Americans, Australians and New Zealanders.
  • Hacker-Festzelt – One of the largest tents on the Wiesn, they have a rock band that plays each evening (as opposed to the traditional brass band). This tent is also known as Heaven of the Bavarians.
  • Schottenhamel – Considered to be the most important tent at the Oktoberfest, mainly because it’s the first and the largest. On the first Saturday of the event, no beer is allowed to be served until the mayor taps the first keg, at 12 pm. Only then can the other tents begin to serve beer.
  • Winzerer Fähndl – This tent is noted for its huge tower.
  • Schützen-Festhalle – This is a mid-sized tent.
  • Käfers Wiesen Schänke – The smallest tent at the Oktoberfest, it’s frequented by celebrities, and is known for its especially good food. In contrast to the other tents, which must close by 11 pm, it’s open until 12:30 am, but can be very difficult to get in.
  • Weinzelt – This tent offers a selection of more than 15 wines.
  • Löwenbräu-Festhalle – Above the entrance is a 15 foot tall lion who occasionally drinks from his beer. This is overshadowed by another tower where another drinking lion sits.
  • Bräurosl – Named after the daughter of the original brewery owner, this tent has the usual brass band and a yodeler.
  • Augustiner-Festhalle – Considered by many locals to be the best tent, due to the fact it sells the best local brew, Augustiner, from individually tapped wooden kegs rather than stainless steel vats used by the other tents.
  • Ochsenbraterei – True to its name, this tent offers a great variety of ox dishes.
  • Fischer Vroni – Another of the smaller tents. Like its name suggests, this tent carries lots of fish on its menu.

Choosing a 'tent'...

Our 'tent'- They call them tents, but I mean...REALLY? Don't you mean 'log cabin mansion?!' Ha!

So just how big are these ‘tents?’  In a word…HUGE.  The smallest tent holds about 2500 people, the largest about 11,000- with the average being 8-9000.  Say it with me…WOW.

Come on in! And this was early afternoon! Just wait...

Cheers!

Bottoms Up! 'Fest Beer' is sold in 1 liter steins only, 8 euro each. No, you don't get to keep the stein. 😦

Here are some more interesting factoids for all you nerds like us who wonder about all this stuff! Ha!

  • Area: 104 sq. acres
  • Seats in the festival halls: approx. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres
  • Wine: 79,624 liters
  • Chicken: 521,872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142,253 pairs
  • Fish: 38,650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58,446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (about 14% of the city’s daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 560 years) Um, JEEZ!
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (about 27% of the city’s daily need)
  • Waste: 678 tons
  • Toilets: about 980 seats, more than 878 meters of urinals and 17 for disabled persons
  • Phone booths: 83 (Do they really still have these?!)
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, wedding rings, and even crutches!

How neat that we all got to share this fun new experience!

Starting to get ROWDY! You can see the live band in the distance on the left...and yep, that's a Patrick from Sponge Bob balloon 🙂

The party is officially crazy! Table dancing, singing along...it was AWESOME!

One thing the pictures don’t do justice for is all the people in their traditional, authentic German attire.  Men in Lederhosen and women in dirndls.  John and I have decided these will be our Halloween costumes next year, btw! 🙂

Lederhosen and Dirndl 🙂 It seemed like just about everyone had them on!

Our table, up and dancing 🙂

John, armed with just a little liquid courage, decided it would be fun to take the stein when it was time to head home.  Remember from above where I said that the price didn’t include a complimentary stein?  Yeah, well…He thought he was home free- the 10-lb mug tucked elusively inside his jacket and further hidden by an umbrella- through the ‘tent,’ out the door and ALMOST to the street…BAM.  Security was on him like white on rice! They whipped him around, peeled back that jacket and snatched the stein- all without saying a word!  Ha!  As a consolation, my husband had to make due with a Nutella-Banana crepe as we made our way back to the train.

OK, so we were all bummed about losing the stein and had to pacify with crepes! Dad had cherry, Mom had banana-honey and I had cinnamon-sugar. Mmmm...

We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend Mom and Dad’s first full day here in Stuttgart!  Well, I take that back…it could’ve been warmer and at least somewhat sunny!  But regardless, what a fun, unique experience- not to mention something John can check off his Bucket List!  Funniest part?  He had long joked that going to Oktoberfest would be like Christmas for him- then we ended up in the only red and green tent, complete with holly decoration!  How’s that for fate?

Headed 'home...'

2 Responses to “Oktoberfest 2010”

  1. granmom September 29, 2010 at 11:55 PM #

    What happened to the 4 of you dancing on the table?

  2. PJ LePine September 29, 2010 at 2:54 PM #

    Well, it certainly sounds like a fun time was had by all! We are happy to read that John did not have to spend time at the Police Station declaring his Hijacked Stein episode. Ha ha. It was all in good fun. I can only imagine how the pounds will be added on with the fabulous foods to enjoy. Walking around there is great fun and so interesting. Enjoy yourselves and be safe!

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