O’ zapft is!

by Antonia on September 23, 2012

Yesterday was the beginning of Oktoberfest, the busiest and most important 16 days here in Munich. Being the world’s largest and probably most well-known fair I feel like I have to take it all in since it’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to live just 4 subway stops away from the Wiesn!

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During the next 2 weeks about 7 million people will visit the Theresienwiese, the large area in the middle of the city where the most famous Bavarian breweries have set up their tents. Of course with millions of people attending the Wiesn chances are pretty slim to actually get into the tents, unless you reserve a table…which is also hardly possible if you’re a nobody. Luckily for me, the company that I work for has a Oktoberfest celebration every year so I will actually be able to see it all from the inside {tomorrow from 5pm onwards, just in case you were wondering}. DSC_0223

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You would think that all the Oktoberfest is about is drinking beer and having a good time. But let me assure you this assumption is absolutely false. I too thought that the next 15 days were all about beer but a big part of the festivities is actually honoring the traditions that have been made in the previous 200 years.

Every year, on the first Saturday of the Wiesn a big parade celebrates the beginning of the event. Traditionally this was the day when the brewers would bring the beer kegs from their respective brewery to the Theresienwiese. Since it’s impossible to physically bring the 7 million litres of beer  being consumed in the next 2 weeks to the Wiesn all on one day {it’s important to note that they start setting up the tents in July} the act of bringing the beer kegs is more symbolic these days. The way how this celebration still draws a crowd after all these years is so wonderful though. Locals and visitors stood in the pouring rain waiting for the floats to come by and the musicians did not seem to mind the lack of sunshine. DSC_0224

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The parade started at 10:45 and was filled with people standing on top of floats being pulled by horses wearing colorful decorations.

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Some of the animals clearly enjoyed the whole “pulling a float experience” more than others but I think in the end they all had a pretty good time!

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The floats themselves were quite spectacular too. I felt like there was some sort of competition between the breweries to create the most colorful and most opulent decorated float.

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The parade ended at the Theresienwiese and at noon the mayor of Munich officially opened the Oktoberfest with the famous words O’ zapft is! while tapping the first beer keg.

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The whole thing was accompanied by music played by several different Blaskapellen {marching bands}. DSC_0239

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Since the Oktoberfest is one of the most important events in Germany it attracts a lot of celebrities. If you’re anything like me that alone would be reason enough to go. Unfortunately I am hardly familiar with any of the German stars. A lot of the football players and national TV personalities come here, I am familiar with neither. Hence I was quite happy to see a familiar face during the parade yesterday, Roberto Blano. DSC_0211

This is no one you will or really should know but he is famous in my neck of the woods….it did take me several hours to remember his name and I’m still uncertain about what exactly he does but just seeing someone famous made my day!

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I would have liked to write about the second parade, the costume parade, in this post as well but since this one’s getting quite long already I’m just going to post part 2 tomorrow. I took 500 pictures over the weekend and hope to share as many as possible with you all.

If you’re interested in part 2 just come back tomorrow. Until then: Auf eine friedliche Wiesn 2012!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon (Healthiful Balance) September 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I’ve never been to the Oktober fest even though I live in Germany. But my dad has been there before. I’m actually going to be in Munich in a few days!

I hope you enjoy the Oktober Fest!

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Antonia September 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm

What??? When exactly will you be in Munich?

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Carina September 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Love this post :)
I will visit the stuttgart equivalent to wiesn “den wasen” next week. i love trachten!

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Meghan@cleaneatsfastfeets September 24, 2012 at 2:26 am

I love the floats. The flowers are so pretty.

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