1. Oktoberfest is called October but starts on September.
The name “Oktober” is misleading because most of the festival happens in September. Fun fact: The event started in 1810 and at that time it took place during one week of October. Along the years, it was extended and the starting date was changed to September because the weather is warmer and more pleasing. Therefore, it’s easier to attract more visitors to stay even longer and enjoy the beer (and festival) throughout the night.
2. Munich beer only
Oktoberfest is, above all, a celebration of Bavarian traditions, so the only beer you’ll find during the festival is brewed within the city limits of Munich. Only beers that fit this criteria are considered Oktoberfest Beers. Fun fact: It’s considered one of the best beers in the world and according to the Bavarian Purity Requirements there are only 3 ingredients used in the brewing process: water, barley and hops.
3. It is a 204-year-old tradition that wasn’t originally a beer festival.
The first Oktoberfest was held to honor the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, in 1810. Now that’s what we call a wedding party! Fun fact: The wedding party ended with a horse party.
4. They’ve cancelled it 26 times.
You can’t stop beer pouring! In 200 years, Oktoberfest has only been cancelled 26 times. The causes were mostly due to the war and cholera epidemics. The last two years the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
5. Vomit-proof sneakers for Oktoberfest.
With so much beer being consumed it’s obvious that some people might feel sick and end up puking… And that’s why Adidas recently released a limited edition of vomit-proof sneakers inspired by the Oktoberfest. They’re priced at 199,95€ with “Prost” stitched on the side and surprisingly, they’re already sold out.
6. Locals call it “Wiesn”.
It’s named after the Theresienwiese, which is the name of the land where it takes place, and it’s also named after Therese, the Princess that was married there. It’s pronounced as “Vizen”. Fun fact: The “Oide Wiesn” is a part of the festival that features more traditional elements such as music, dancing and costumes, in contrast with other parts of the festival that are dedicated to beer and partying.
7. Nobody raises their mug until the Mayor says so.
Since 1950, the festival has only started after the official gun salute and the mayor shouting O’ zapft is! (“It’s tapped!”) and offering the first mug to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. Only after that, the festival can start. Tip: On the 21st of September of 2019 at noon, the Mayor will tap the first keg of beer and the festival will (officially) start.
8. The hairier the hat, the wealthier the wearer.
During Oktoberfest, traditional visitors wear Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte). The more tufts of goat hair on your hat, the wealthier you are considered to be. Except nowadays the tufts are synthetic and everybody can look as wealth or as poorly as they like.
9. Beer prices start at 10.70€ / £9.50 / $12.
It’s the price of one liter of beer… Not for those looking for a low budget festival. Tip: Beer can be bought in the tents from 10:00AM to 10:30PM on weekdays, and from 9:00AM to 10:30PM during the weekend.
10. People drank 7.5 million liters of beer in 2018!
Fun fact: In 1910, on its 100th birthday, 120,000 liters of beer were poured – that’s about 1,500 bathtubs worth of beer!
11. The beer is specially brewed for Oktoberfest and it’s extra strong.
One mug of beer here is equivalent to 8 shots of Schnapps.They’re specially brewed for the festival and they have at least 6% alcohol.