For sixteen days each year, the population of Munich swells from 1.4 million to over 6 million. Visitors from all around the globe come take part in the world’s largest show of debauchery: Oktoberfest. Reservation tickets for the beer tents are bought months in advance and those without will often line up for hours to get a seat.
Anyways, I had to take a peek.
Of course, Oktoberfest is all about the beer. This year, over 6.9 million liters of strong German brew was consumed, made by the seven Munich breweries especially for the festival. But Oktoberfest is also a carnival, with many rides, games, and eateries.
This pair of pictures was taken from the top of the ferris wheel and shows about a third of the grounds. Beer is served in tents like these. Of the seven. The Hofbräu house is one of the most famous, and tends to cater to an international crowd. There are many other tents, each with their own atmosphere and reputation. Some seat up to 10, 000 eager customers. Here is a profile of the main ones.
I walked into one of the tents for a few minutes, just to take a look. There were hundreds (a few thousand? actually, I’m not sure) of people standing on the benches and singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” at the top of their lungs.
Beer is served in one-liter mugs, Mass, like these. This year, the guards at the tent exits confiscated 111, 000 mugs from customers trying to sneak them out as souvenirs.
In the areas outside of the beer tents, most people were teetering around and leaning on shoulders–quite drunk. The number of “beer corpses” (people that drank themselves unconscious) increased this year, as did the number of dangerous assaults with beer glasses. Interesting Oktoberfest statistics here.
All in all, Oktoberfest was a lot of fun. I had never seen so many inebriated people in one place and I was happy to be in control of my motor functions. That is…until we went on this intensely dizzying ride just before leaving. O.o