Dancers in traditional Bavarian costume
This year is the 181st Oktoberfest, and it’s looking set to be better than ever. Last year, the festival attracted more
than 6 million visitors, who consumed 6.7 million litres of beer between them. For 2014, festivities will be in full
swing between 20th September and 5th October, and crowds of similar numbers, if not more, are expected to descend
upon Munich. If, like me and my family, you’re planning to join in the revelries, then read on to find out more about
what will be happening over Oktoberfest, where to eat, where to drink and what to do if you’re visiting with kids.
The opening weekend
On Saturday 20th September, Oktoberfest officially begins. This is marked with the traditional colourful parade through
the streets of all the tent patrons, which starts at 11 o’clock in the morning. There are floats and carriages carrying
people in costume to the site of the beer tents, where at 12 noon the Mayor of Munich will tap the first beer barrel,
so that celebrations may commence! There is a second parade on the Sunday, the Costume and Riflemen’s parade, showing
off traditional Bavarian costumes along the streets of Munich.
One of the many tents at Oktoberfest, Munich
Food and drink
All of the beer served at Oktoberfest comes from local breweries in Munich, including Augustiner, Paulaner and Spaten.
Servings of beer tend to come in large one-litre glasses, also known as ein Maß, which are carried by barmaids dressed
in traditional Dirndl dresses. You can also order a lighter version mixed with lemonade, called a Radler. If beer
isn’t your thing, there are also tents serving local regional wines, and even a café tent with coffee and soft drinks,
as well as cakes and pastries. Other food on offer includes the world-famous pretzels, served with half a roast chicken.
You will also find plenty of bratwurst, pork and fish dishes, and delicious gingerbread for the kids!
Oktoberfest is not just geared towards adults, despite predominantly being about the beer, and there are loads of fun
things to do as a family. Most tents have live Bavarian music and dancing, but the star of the show – as far as your
kids will be concerned – is definitely the fun fair. There are a number of different rides, including flying swings,
merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries and loop-the-loop rollercoasters. And if that’s not enough to get your kids excited,
why not indulge their sweet tooth at the candyfloss stands – but maybe save that one until after the loop-the-loop!
A great day out for all the family at the funfair
Driving to Oktoberfest with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
Getting to the continent is easy with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It takes just 35 minutes, and with services operating 24
hours a day, 365 days a year, you’ll have no problem finding a time to travel that suits you. The drive to Munich
from our Calais terminal will take you roughly nine hours, so you may want to schedule in a couple of rest stops
along the way. The quickest route is to follow the European Route E40, taking you through Belgium and over the German
border as far as Cologne. From here, you can pick up the Bundesautobahn 3, which will take you down to Nuremberg
where you can join the Bundesautobahn 9 all the way to Munich. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the midst
of all the fun of Oktoberfest – enjoy!
Dancers © digital cat
tents at Oktoberfest © Roman Boed
funfair © digital cat