Report from Munich's Oktoberfest

by Hans Trinker

20 September 2004

If you enjoy big-scale partying beyond the juvenile "spring break", you've probably already checked out the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Burning Man in the Nevada desert, Amsterdam's Red Light District on weekends, Mallorca, St. Tropez, Jew-Yoke-Shitty or Las Vegas on New Year's eve, among other notorious spots. However, none of these places -- at least for White European people -- can match the famous Oktoberfest in Munich for partying pleasure.

The 16-day Oktoberfest is the world's largest folk festival and also happens to be known as the world's biggest party. It just began a couple of days ago, on a weekend where there was much else going on in town -- the world's largest Motorcycle Fair, InterMot, which alternates annually with Milan; and the opening of Europe's largest Agricultural Fair, adjacent to the Oktoberfest complex, occurring every leap year. Indeed, due in part to the beautiful weather, the local paper reported that this Oktoberfest weekend was a record-breaker. More than a million people have already visited, consuming over 560,000 liters of beer.

Here is a brief overview of the various "tents", some of which have a total seating capacity exceeding ten thousand.

Last Saturday, on opening day, the total capacity had filled up everywhere within a couple of hours. I was lucky to have been inside the Schottenhamel tent, known among local connoisseurs to be the best. This is where the festival officially begins, at noon, when the mayor taps the first keg. People without reservations line up before the place opens up at nine to get a good spot in the middle -- though virtually everyone winds up standing on their seat, just like at a hot ball game or rock concert. Nowhere else will one find a more intense assembly of sexy, young, blonde women wearing modern Dirndl outfits.

An American gal might initially think it corny or silly to wear these colorful outfits under any circumstances, but over here in Munich it's considered hip for a woman to show off her Dirndl at Oktoberfest. A much higher percentage of women wear them than men showing up in Lederhosen outfits. Many of the modern skirts and apron designs do not drop below the knees. There are even expensive "Trachten" shops that specialize in Dirdl haute couture. I can understand that women without a Dirndl in such an environment must feel second-rate and might make an effort to get one for the following year. An American girl I chatted with, who was wearing jeans, confided that she felt very jealous. Plenty of the women also had double-braided hair. It reminded me of some of those photos I'd seen, of Der Führer visiting the local women in Austrian or Bavarian towns seventy years ago. Over the course of the weekend, I saw a few Asiatic women in Dirndls, and even a very dark Niggerette. The variety in patterns, designs, and colors of Dirndls on display is just amazing. Blouse and vest combinations for women with full breasts enhance this part of their anatomy by accentuating and showing off the cleavage. I've seen plenty of folklore and festive costumes at numerous ethnic parades and special events in America and elsewhere, and in my view (with regard to women) the nicest Dirndl costumes even beat the finest Bharatanatyam costumes of Indian folk dance for beauty and style.

If one wanted to see the more traditional and elaborate Dirndl outfits, worn with hats, and jewelry, Sunday's long parade, which went through the center of Munich for over two hours and eventually ended at the Oktoberfest facility, was definitely the place to be. There were also traditional hunters, knights on horses, flag bearers, and hairy-legged horse teams pulling carriages loaded with beer kegs. Best of all, plenty of marching bands played German martial music that one normally doesn't hear being played in America by high school or college bands. For some reason, there was even a contingency of women from Poland, and another from Croatia. By contrast, their costumes were so awfully gaudy and tacky (a little like Central American), so perhaps providing this juxtaposition to viewers may have been the hidden purpose of their participation.

The beer at the Oktoberfest comes only from one of the breweries in Munich. It is brewed especially for this event, comes from wooden kegs, and is a bit stronger and more golden-colored than the regular lager beer one gets at the beer gardens here. Waitresses in cute Dirndls serve the beer in heavy one-liter glass mugs made in Austria. They can carry up to ten of these mugs at a time with both hands. Though it may be the case that women don't enjoy drinking beer as much as men do, I got the impression that women and men were distributed evenly amongst the visitors. Those who don't like beer at all and prefer wine can visit the Wine Tent.

No streaming video and sound Webcam could possibly convey the spectacular party ambience one can only experience at Munich's Oktoberfest, yet those readers who have been here before but couldn't make it this year (good luck finding a room if you still want to go before it ends, on October 3) might wish to trigger their fond memories.


Here's a collection of links associated with the Oktoberfest, some of which are outdated or no longer in service:

Somewhere in or near your home town in America, some organization will be putting on an Oktoberfest event soon. Since these events are generally associated with Germanic ethnic pride or awareness, those usual suspects would just love to suppress them, if they could. But they can't! Even a multi-cultural place on the West Coast such as San Francisco, with no longstanding German tradition, unlike communities east of the Mississippi, puts on a big weekend Oktoberfest, which in just a few years of existence has become the largest in California. If you can't enjoy the real deal in Munich, you should at least visit a local event. The bigger festivals might even have a few Dirndls for sale.


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