With millions of people coming up for Oktoberfest, Munich becomes a very busy place. Even though Munich is already a major tourist destination yet every Oktoberfest the place literally became the world’s biggest party place.

The Schottenhamel tent is the place to be, this September 17, 2011, if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies. At noontime, 12pm, the lord mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Once the barrel has been tapped, all visitors will then be allowed to quench their thirst. The entry to the area and all beer-tents is free but please consider coming early, because the tents fill up very quickly! When the tents are overfilled, you can’t enter anymore. It pays to arrive early in order to experience the festivities up close and personal and it's quite common for visitors to come around 9am to secure good seats. On weekend the tents often close before 11 a.m. because of overfilling. During the week the tents are normally open until afternoon. The festival will last until October 3rd, 2011.Daily Tent Closing Time: 11:30pm. The "Käfer Wiesn-Schänke" and the "Weinzelt" are open until 1am. Last call for drinking alcohol: 12:15am.

Beer Serving Hours

  • Weekdays: 10am - 10:30pm
  • Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 9am - 10:30pm

Sales Booths (souvenirs, cigarettes, etc.)

  • Monday - Thursday: 10am - 11:30pm
  • Friday: 10am - 12am (midnight)
  • Saturday: 9am - 12am
  • Sundays and holidays: 9am - 11:30pm

Tent Closing Time

  • Daily: 11:30pm
  • The "Käfer Wiesn-Schänke" and the "Weinzelt" are open until 1am.
  • Last call for drinking alcohol: 12:15am.

Carnival and Rides

  • Monday - Thursday: 10am - 11:30pm
  • Friday, Saturday: 10am - 12am
  • Sundays and holidays: 10am - 11:30pm

Family Days

  • Every Tuesday from 12pm until 6pm
  • Discounted ride, entrance, and sales prices!

Oktoberfest numbers (2007)

  • Area: 103.79 acres (0.42 km²)
  • Seats in the festival halls: ca. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 69.406 hl (1.269 hl non-alcoholic). each Hectoliter is equivalent to 100 Liters, so the total amount of beer consumed was 6.94 Million Liters.
  • Wine: 79.624 liters
  • Sparkling wine: 32.047 liters
  • Coffee, tea: 222.725 liters
  • Water, lemonade: 909.765 ½ liters
  • Chicken: 521.872 units
  • Pork sausages: 142.253 pairs
  • Fish: 38.650 kg
  • Pork knuckles: 58.446 units
  • Oxen: 104 units
  • Expenditure of electricity: 2.8 million kWh (as much as 14% of Munich's daily need or as much as a four person family will need in 52 years and 4 months)
  • Expenditure of gas: about 205,000 m³
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich´s daily need )
  • Waste: 678 tons (2004)
  • Toilettes: about 980 seats, more than 878 metres stands and 17 for disabled persons.
  • Telephones: 83, also for international credit cards.
  • Lost property: about 4000 items, among them 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, a wedding ring and two crutches

The beer price for 2011 is between 8.70 and 8.90 Euros - varying in every beer tent.

The main highlight of the Wiesn (field, or meadow of Therese) events, short for Theresienwiese, where the festival is held and an important must-see is the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade. The parade happens every year on the first Wiesn Sunday. Other important events are the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Official Tapping of the Keg, the Oktoberfest Mass , "Böllerschießen" (handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue and - this year- an agricultural festival.

Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.

Oktoberfestbiers are the beers that have been served at the event in Munich since 1818, and are supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Lowenbrau, Augustiner, Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Traditionally Oktoberfest biers were the lagers of around 5.5 to 6% abv called Märzen - brewed in March and allowed to ferment slowly during the summer months. Originally these would have been dark lagers, but from 1872 a strong March brewed version of an amber-red Vienna lager made by Josef Sedlmayr became the favorite Oktoberfestbier.

Since the 1970s the type of beer served at the festival has been a pale lager between 5 and 6% abv, and the terms Oktoberfest and Märzen are used by non-Oktoberfest brewers in Germany and the USA to market pale lagers of this strength. The color of these lagers may range from pale gold to deep amber, with the darker colors more common in the USA. Hop levels tend not to be distinctive, though some American examples may be firmly hopped. Modern beers sold as Oktoberfest and Märzen in Europe tend not to be too differentiated from other pale lagers of this strength, while older German and American influenced examples will be fairly malty in flavor and inclined to use a range of malts, especially dark malts such as Vienna or Munich.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1990, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3rd (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2nd and 18 days when it is October 1st. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d’ Wiesn for short.

Visitors also eat huge amounts of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as sausage, hendl (chicken), käsespätzle (cheese noodles), and sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as roast ox tails and Äpfelpfannenkuchen (apple pancakes).

Modern festival

Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 by the current Mayor of Munich with the cry "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!" in the Austro-Bavarian dialect) opens the Oktoberfest. The first mayor to tap the keg was Thomas Wimmer.

By 1960, the Oktoberfest had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. After this foreigners began to picture Germans as wearing the Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and the girls in Dirndl. Horse races ended in 1960.

There are many problems every year with young people, who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol. Many pass out due to drunkenness. These especially drunk patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses"). They are brought by staff to a medical tent where drunks as well as sick people are treated.

In 2001, the event closed down at 11:00 PM due to fears of the recent terrorist attacks on the United States.

To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, friendly for older people and families, the concept of the "quiet Oktoberfest" was developed in 2005. Until 6:00 PM, the tents only play quiet music, for example traditional wind music. Only after that will Schlager and pop music be played, which has led to more violence in earlier years. The music played in the afternoon is limited to 85 decibels. With these measures, the organizers of the Oktoberfest hope to curb the over-the-top party mentality and preserve the traditional beer tent atmosphere.

Since 2005 the last traveling Enterprise ride of Germany - called Mondlift - is back on the Oktoberfest.

Starting in 2008, a new Bavarian law banning smoking in all enclosed spaces that are open to the public will be in place at the Oktoberfest. This will mean a complete smoking ban inside the tents. However, after heavy losses in the 2008 local elections, the state's ruling party wants to grant special exemptions to beer tents and small pubs.

Price of a Maß of Beer

One of the biggest talking points among citizens of Munich in the lead-up to the Oktoberfest each year is how much a liter of beer will cost. In 2006 the official price range was between €6.95 and €7.50, as opposed to €6.65 and €7.10 the year before. In the past, price hikes have been a contentious issue.

In 2007, the price of a Maß was between €7.30 and €7.90. In 2008, the price will range between €8.00 and €8.30. And no, unfortunately you don't get to keep the glass.

Souvenir mugs

Oktoberfest beer mugs (1-liter-Steins, Maßkrug in German) are made from heavy glass and typically have a decorative brewery logo on the side, thus making them very popular souvenirs among visitors. Although it is strictly forbidden to steal the mugs, they can be purchased in the tents at a reasonable price. Buyers are strongly advised to keep the receipts because police are known to search them for stolen mugs even away from the fest area. When police catch someone stealing a mug, the thieves may be fined up to €50. In 2006, 220,000 mugs were retrieved by security forces.

Don't get caught stealing a mug if you're there. If you can't make it to Munich this year, you're in luck. We have Oktoberfest Mugs in stock and ready to ship for your own party! Check out our Oktoberfest beer mugs here. We also offer wholesale pricing for large orders.