Calling all beer lovers – it’s time to get your lederhosen on for this year’s Oktoberfest!
The fun kicks off this Saturday the 21st September and lasts until Sunday 6th October. If you’ve been before you’ll be familiar with the beer associated festivities held every year in Munich; but if you are less informed on all things Oktoberfest, keep reading!
What is Oktoberfest?
The festival occurs annually, on the first Saturday following the 15th September and continues until the first Sunday in October.
The origins of the festival date back to 1810, when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. An elaborate party was held in Munich in their honour; which ultimately became a yearly tradition, with Germans celebrating this date every year since 1811.
Despite the original party involving horse racing, almost everything else about the way the celebrations for Oktoberfest were held has stayed the same.
Today, the world renowned beer festival encompasses the obvious consumption of beer, which must conform to Reinheitsgebot (the German Beer Purity Law) and be brewed within the city limits of Munich. Alongside the beer, there is also a selection of exciting fairground rides, carnival booths, merry-go-rounds, entertainment, and food on offer.
Speaking of food, visitors to Oktoberfest can enjoy a diverse assortment of traditional offerings, from meat and fish to Obatzda (a Bavarian spiced cheese butter spread) and Brezeln (pretzel).
Oktoberfest is officially started when Munich’s Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) taps the first beer keg and shouts the traditional phrase “it’s tapped!” (“O’zapft is!”) – signalling that it is time to start indulging in the plentiful offerings of beer!
New introductions to Oktoberfest this year:
- There are some new rides for you to enjoy – Odysee, Sky Fall (the highest transportable freefall tower at 70m!), the Cobra Looping ride, and the Pirate Adventure!
- There will be a new wristband system for entry, so you won’t have to pay twice to get back into Oktoberfest once you’ve been outside. Entry fee for the Oide Wiesn is 4 euros.
- A new Smart Card system will make it easier to navigate yourself around the festival site. The Smart Card is free of charge, and you’ll be able to scan the QR code from the Smart Card with your smart phone to gain lots of useful information about Oktoberfest on your display.
- There is a new Oktoberfest poster design on display this year, created by Communication Design student Akim Sämmer from Munich. His design will be featured on all new merchandise, including beer mugs, cups, sweaters and glasses!
London Oktoberfest 2013
If you are based in the UK and can’t make it to Munich this year to experience the merriment of Oktoberfest in its native surroundings, you can still celebrate at London’s version of the event, starting on Thursday 19th September!
This interpretation of the real event lasts until the 22nd September, and then continues from the 26th – 29th September; finishing the weekend of the 3rd – 6th October.
Held at Kennington Park, Lambeth for the first two weekends, and in Millwall Park, Canary Wharf for the last weekend; the London Oktoberfest attracts up to 3,300 people.
You will be served your London Oktoberfest beer (brewed in Germany) by serving staff fully clad in traditional Dirndl and Lederhosen, ensuring that you still benefit from the authentic Oktoberfest atmosphere. You can even join in for a customary sing-along whilst standing on the tables – being careful not to spill your beer if it gets too raucous of course!
You can even buy or rent your own Dirndl and Lederhosen to truly immerse you in the Bavarian experience. Check out the London Oktoberfest Lederhosen and Dirndl shop to get you in the spirit!
Have your own Oktoberfest!
Finally, if you’d rather stay at home and create your very own Oktoberfest, it couldn’t be easier.
Of course the most important element to your recreation of the celebrations will be the beer!
Stock up on some authentic German beers – popular supermarkets stock brands such as Hefe Weissbier, Hefeweizen and Erdinger Dunkel Weiss.
Or for more of a novelty design, how about going for one of our Glass Beer Boots?
As well as all that beer, you will need some genuine and delicious Bavarian fare to enjoy.
Having a selection of meats will be a good start, but in particular German Weisswurst – a smooth textured sausage that is almost white in color. It is made from veal and pork, and it is seasoned with bacon, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper.
For creating your own version, try using this Weisswurst recipe from Chow.
To accompany your Weisswurst, it is customary to serve up some German pretzels. These are very different to the small crunchy version you may be familiar with, as they are larger and doughy with a salted crust. Impress you guests by making them using this German pretzels recipe from BBC Good Food.
Another traditional offering affiliated with Oktoberfest is the Lebkuchen – a sweet and nutty German gingerbread with a spicy aroma. They are shaped into hearts and decorated with icing; often hung up with ribbon to be displayed as decorations
You can make your own using this Lebkuchen Hearts recipe and offer them as party favours to your guests to commemorate your own Oktoberfest event!
We are doubtless that you won’t need us to encourage you to partake in some Oktoberfest fun this year. It is after all, essentially an excuse for over indulgence of German beer and tasty food in a vibrant atmosphere – what’s not to like?!