Dear Andy,
I just finished the last day of my sixteen day adventure of exploring Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. It is the largest fair in the world. I'll give you a little background about it, so you know what it is. Oktoberfest started with a wedding on October 12, 1810. It was the wedding of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. They held a big party in honor of their marrige, and about four million people from all over the country attended, and it became so popular that it happened again the following year, creating the national German tradition today we all know as Oktoberfest. It now lasts sixteen to eighteen days long, starts on a Saturday in late September, and ends usually on the first sunday in October. Oktoberfest has as variety of rides, merry-go-rounds, and fair booths for lots of entertainment.

Oktoberfest has fourteen festival halls, or beer tents (they each have their own kind of beer supplied by 6 breweries)that each have their own theme. They are Hippodrom, Armbrustschützenzelt, Hofbräu Festzelt, Hacker-Festzelt Schottenhamel, Winzerer Fähndl, Schützen-Festzelt, Käfers Wiesn Schänke, Weinzelt, Löwenbräu-Festhalle, Bräurosl, Augustiner-Festhalle, Ochsenbraterei, and Fischer Vroni. My three favorite tents were Schottenhamel, Käfers Wiesn Schänke, and Löwenbräu-Festhalle. I liked Schottenhamel because it is the tent where Munich's Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) taps the first beer keg and yells the traditional O'zapft is! ("It's tapped!") at 12:00pm on the Saturday that starts the event. Everyone was excited for the first tap, and you could feel the excitement in the air. I liked Kafers Wiesn Schanke becuase I got to meet some of Germany's celebrities, and it had extremely good food, compared to the rest of the tents. Lowenbrau-Festhalle was one of my favorites because it has a giant 15ft. tall lion at the entrance that occasinally drinks from its big mug of beer. It is very fun to watch, and it also has an even bigger lion on a tower overlooking it.

The thing i lilked most about the whlole festival was definitely the varitey of foods they had to offer. Although some of the food was a little gross looking, the rest of it was very good. A few of the things they had that were unusual to me were Haxn (knuckle of pork), Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction), and gebratenen Ochse Suppe(
roasted oxtails). Maybe next year i'll be brave enough to try it. But my favorite foods were Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Hendl (chicken), and Knödeln (potato or bread dumplings). I am definitely making some of these dishes when i get back for you and our friends.

Some interesting facts about Oktoberfest are; it can seat over 100,000 people in the whole festival, has over 6.2 million visitors each year, consumes approximately 6,940,600 litres of beer each festival, and 79,624 litres of wine. 678 tons of waste is produced through out the festival (EWW!), they need a lot of toilets for that. Around 1,800 actually. Very many things are lost during Oktoberfest. For example, 260 pairs of glasses, 200 cell phones, sometimes even dentures and wedding rings. Somewhere between 3,500 and 5,000 things are lost every year.

This trip to Oktoberfest has definitely been long, but extremely fun. I've learned a lot about its history and culture through the festival. I really hope i come back next year, and maybe you could come with me! That would surely be an adventure. Well, i hope you've learned as much as i have through my expirence. See you soon!

Your friend,
DeeDee Dallman







Notes:

DeeDee

http://german.about.com/library/blbraeuche_sep.htm

It all began with a wedding—in October 1810. On the 12th day of October that year, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I of Bavaria) wed Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and held a big party near Munich (München). It was so popular, that the party (complete with horse racing) took place again the following year, prompting the start of a traditional German celebration that has become world famous. Oktoberfest has been celebrated every year since 1811. begins each year on a Saturday in September and ends 16-18 days later (usually) on the first Sunday in October. Oktoberfest is more like a huge American state fair, complete with fun rides, merry-go-rounds, carnival booths, food, entertainment and, of course, those 14 famous beer halls sponsored by Bavarian brewers such as Paulaner, Löwenbräu or Spaten. the festivities get off to an official start when Munich's Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) taps the first beer keg and yells the traditional O'zapft is! ("It's tapped!") at 12 noon on the Saturday that starts the event.

http://www.discover-munich.info/munich_oktoberfest.php

This year's Oktoberfest is Munich's 176th Oktoberfest. 14 giant tents with a total seating capacity of 100,000 serve 5.5 million litres of potent ‘March beer’, more than 600,000 fried chickens and 84 heads of cattle. Tuesdays from noon till 6pm are ‘Family Days’.
The big Oktoberfest tents are called:


  • Hippodrom
  • Armbrustschützenzelt
  • Hofbräu Festzelt
  • Hacker-Festzelt
  • Schottenhamel
  • Winzerer Fähndl
  • Schützen-Festzelt
  • Käfers Wiesn Schänke
  • Weinzelt
  • Löwenbräu-Festhalle
  • Bräurosl
  • Augustiner-Festhalle
  • Ochsenbraterei
  • Fischer Vroni

http://europeforvisitors.com/munich/articles/oktoberfest-munich.htm

The annual 16-day festival offers some 200 sideshows, carnival rides, and other amusements. it traces its origins to a wedding celebration for Ludwig I of Bavaria and his bride in 1810. In a typical year, Oktoberfest will attract some 6 million vistors who collectively down approximately 6 million liters (1.5 million gallons) of special Oktoberfest brew.
Most of the serious guzzling takes place in 14 beer tents, or festival halls, which offer tables and seating for 100,000 patrons. Six of the tents are operated by Munich breweries, and each of the 14 has its own unique character--from the relatively intimate 3,400-seat Hippodrom to the 9,300-seat Schottenhamel, where the mayor of Munich cries "O'zapft is!" as he taps the first keg of beer on the opening day of Oktoberfest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an enjoyable event with an important part of Bavarian culture. supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner, Hofbräu, PaulanerHacker-Pschorr. Visitors also eat huge amounts of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (knuckle of pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstel (sausages) along with Brezel (Pretzel)), Knödeln (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (a white sausage). 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. Nearly 1,000 tons of refuse result annually from the Oktoberfest.

and

Oktoberfest numbers (2007)

  • Area: 103.79 acres (0.42 km²)
  • Seats in the festival halls: ca. 100,000
  • Visitors: 6.2 million
  • Beer: appr. 6,940,600 litres (126,900 litres non-alcoholic)
  • Wine: 79,624 litres
  • Sparkling wine: 32,047 litres
  • Coffee, tea: 222,725 litres
  • Water, lemonade: 909,765 ½ litres
  • 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 205,000³ m
  • Expenditure of water: about 90,000 m³ (as much as 27% of Munich's daily need )
  • Waste: 678 t (2004)
  • Toilets: about 980 seated, more than 878 metres of urinals 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, wedding rings, crutches, and even dentures.

Hippodrom — One of the smaller tents, it's the first tent that many visitors see at the fest.
Armbrustschützenzelt — Translates as the "Crossbow Shooters Tent", a competition that has been a part of the Oktoberfest since 1895.
Hofbräu-Festzelt — The counterpart to the famous Hofbräuhaus, this tent is especially popular with Americans, Australians and New Zealanders.
Hacker-Festzelt — One of the largest tents on the Wiesn, they have a rock band that plays from 5:30 each evening
Schottenhamel — Reckoned to be the most important tent at the Oktoberfest, mainly because it is where it starts. On the first Saturday of the event, no beer is allowed to be served until the mayor of Munich (currently Christian Ude) taps the first keg, at 12pm. Only then can the other tents begin to serve beer
Winzerer Fähndl — This tent is noted for its huge tower, with a Maß of Paulaner beer sitting atop it.
Schützen-Festhalle — This is a mid-sized tent. Situated under the Bavaria statue, the current tent was newly built in 2004.
Käfers Wiesen Schänke — The smallest tent at the Oktoberfest, it is frequented by celebrities, and is known for its especially good food.
Weinzelt — This tent offers a selection of more than 15 wines, as well as Weißbier.
Löwenbräu-Festhalle — Above the entrance is a 4.50 meter (15 foot) lion who occasionally drinks from his beer. This is overshadowed by another tower where another drinking lion sits.
Bräurosl (Hacker-Pschorr) — Named after the daughter of the original brewery owner (Pschorr)
Augustiner-Festhalle — Considered by many locals to be the best tent, due to the fact it sells the favourite local brew
Ochsenbraterei — True to its name, this tent offers a great variety of ox dishes.
Fischer Vroni — Another of the smaller tents. Fisch is the German word for fish and this tent carries a huge selection in its menu.