The Oktoberfest Experience – Opening Ceremonies

20 Sep

This year marks the 200th edition of Munich’s Oktoberfest.  Last Saturday morning the city’s streets were crowded with Bavarians and tourists alike, as tens of thousands of people waited for the festivities to begin.  Of course, beer might be the festival’s biggest attraction, but it is definitely not the only one.  Opening day is packed with things to do and see, and just being there is definitely part of the experience!

Oktoberfest has historically been held in a the “Theresienwiese” park in the center of Munich.  One of the main attractions on opening day is the parade into the park grounds.  All of the breweries have floats drawn by richly adorned draft horses, decorated profusely with flowers and filled with beautiful women decked out in traditional “Dirndl” (alpine peasant dress) and men clad in “Liederhosen” (leather pants).  These gleeful party goers are probably the only Oktoberfest participants officially allowed to drink beer before the festival’s official start at noon.

“O’zapft is”

Traditionally, Munich’s Mayor kicks off Oktoberfest at noon with the cry “O’zapft is” which translates to “it is tapped” in English.  However, you will unfortunately have to choose between having one of the first beers and seeing the parade, because the timing will not work out if you want to do both.  There is another option for those who really can not choose between the two.  You could always skip the opening parade, and see the impressive “Trachtenumzug” parade which takes place on day 2 of Oktoberfest instead.  Just do not over do it on the beer the first day if you choose this option, as you will have to wake up early.

For a good view on opening day, be sure to stake out a place on the parade route by about 10 am.  If you are hoping to get into the “Schottenhammel” tent to see the Mayor tap the first keg, then you had better plan on getting there even earlier to stake out a seat.  Without a reservation, festival tents are almost inaccessible.

Below are even more pictures of the opening parade…

(just click on images you like to see a full size version!)


3 Responses to “The Oktoberfest Experience – Opening Ceremonies”

  1. Karl September 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    This Octoberfest event looks wonderful, and the description given with the photos is very interesting. Good photos,too; and the entire piece is well constructed. Can’t wait for more news about Bavaria.

  2. Cas September 21, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    It looks AMAZING! The “strabes” must be rammed packed with partygoers! haha! Miss you. xx

    • bavariaundercover September 21, 2010 at 11:13 am #

      It was definitely amazing and you should definitely check it out! It’s well worth the trip. I never get tired of the “strabe” joke! à bientôt!

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