Review: Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich
MUNICH—The 183rd Oktoberfest, which kicked off with the declaration “O’zapft is” (it’s tapped) and a 12-gun salute on September 17 amidst heavy rain and security, is now underway.
The celebration of Bavarian culture attracts visitors from across the globe, although the majority (70%) come from the state of Bavaria itself. Indeed, Munich locals (including myself) will attend the Wies’n (the colloquial name for the Theresienwiese) multiple times in the course of the event. The last day of Oktoberfest this year is October 3.
Heavy rains kept half the expected revelers away for the first weekend. Only 500,000 showed up while, in past years, that figure was usually one million or more. The hungry crowd consumed nine oxen according to Oktoberfest organizers, only slightly down from ten during the opening weekend of 2015. A total of 114 were consumed at last year’s Oktoberfest.
In 2015, 5.9 million visitors consumed 7.7 million liters of beer along with more than 1.5 million liters of other beverages including wine and juice. The cost of a Maß or liter of beer was similar to last year’s at slightly over €10 (it was a mere €9.20 in 2011 and 4.80DM or €2.45 the first time FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira went to Oktoberfest in the late 1980s while living in Munich). The amount of beer consumed per person is dramatically up since the 1980s: In 2015 Oktoberfest visitors drank a record 1.3 liters of beer per head, a 70% increase.
In addition to a wide variety of beer brewed in Munich, visitors are enjoying traditional Bavarian foods including Hendl (chicken), Würstl (sausages), Brezn (pretzels), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Knödel (dumpling), and Bavarian specialties that include Obatzda (a spiced cheese spread) and Weißwurst (veal sausage).
Oktoberfest traces its origins back to the marriage celebration of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Theresa on October 12, 1810. The event has since moved to mid-September to take advantage of milder weather.
It takes place at the Theresienwiese, which is easily accessible by public transportation via U-Bahn (metro) U-4 or U-5 directly to the Wiesn as the venue, which in English is the Therese meadow named after King Ludwig’s bride, is known, or via the S-Bahn (surface rail) to the Donnersbergerbrücke station.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)