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Mention Oktoberfest to most Germans and expect a few groans. It’s touristy, overpriced, and a poor parody of Bavarian traditions. Still, that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Now that the world’s most popular beer festival is over for another year, we can put away our lederhosen and let our livers enter a year-long rehab. Waitain’t nobody got time for that.
Here are just a few relatively unknown German beer festivals that more authentic and way cheaper than Munich’s premier beer fest:
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These are the words"it is tapped!"with which the Mayor of Munich will open 2014 Oktoberfest tomorrow, September 20. After that first keg starts flowing some 6 million people will pass under the Willkommen before the festival closes on October 5, all sharing the goal of making memories while singing along to "Ein Prosit" in one of the big beer tents.
Therein lies the problem; those tents, large as they are, are pretty tight and tables are booked by advance reservation. Unfortunately for the first-timer or last-minute visitor to Oktoberfest, the pre-booking process is out of the question and bribes are not standard.
Don't give up! There are definite ways to grab a coveted seat inside a tent, (even Hofbräuhaus!), if you try out our three tips:
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It’s the season to raise a glass, mug, or stein in celebration of Oktoberfest. With only days until events kick off, a last-minute trip to Munich may not be in the cards this year. That’s okay, as there are plenty of towns, communities, and cities doing the Oktoberfest thing on this side of the ocean. Here are some of our favorites:
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Oktoberfest in Munich begins September 20 and ends October 5. Looking at the calendar, that's a scant 10 days until the tapping of the first keg! Despite what you may be thinking, it's still not too late to make the decision to finally "do" Oktoberfest this year.
During the festival, the city's Theresienwiese event grounds (or simply "Wiesn" for short) will be teeming with tens of thousands of revelers daily, traveling from beer tent to champagne tent, to schnapps booth. Champagne tent?! Schnapps booth?! Yes, there are special zones and kiosks for all traditional German alcohols, but beer is the chief interest and, as such, the big-name beer tents fill up early in the day.
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Okay people. It's that time of the year when we get to talk about Oktoberfest. The barrels will be tapped and the pretzels baked starting September 22. Just as last year, we're going to lay some wisdom on ya as seasoned female revelers at Munich's massive party. Heed these, our six things for female travelers to know about Oktoberfest:
1. Beer is not the only authentic drink! In fact, we'd argue there are three other beverages it's "authentic" to drink at Oktoberfest, all of which work out well for those who don't particularly enjoy chugging beer: champagne, schnapps and Radler. Look beyond the ginormous beer tents to the Weinzelt tent, a smaller tent that specializes in Nymphenburger Sektsekt being German champagne. Even smaller and dotted around the Theresienwiese are schnapps booths, where a few Euro goes a long way (towards getting drunkers).
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Prost! There's one more month until the start of the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Running from September 22 - October 7, the celebration of beer and the autumn harvest returns with its 14 Big Tents, an amusement park, and all the sausages under heat lamps you can handle.
Naturally the focus will again be beer, but we're here to say that, yes, we've been to Oktoberfest before and, yes, there's more than just heading for the hops. If you haven't made your beer tent table reservations yet, good luck (they're usually booked up as early as February), but drinking other beverages can still yield you a seat.
Here's three other liquids to guzzle during Oktoberfest 2012:
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Kim Kardashian represents womankind at last year's Oktoberfest. Vom.
Okay people. Oktoberfest is officially in full swing. The brew has been tapped and the pretzels baked and the hotels...well, filled. The luxury hotel collection Rocco Forte Hotels dropped some advice into our inbox regarding tips for ladies visiting Oktoberfest, and as seasoned female revelers at Munich's massive party, we've got some priceless tidbits of our own to add:
· Drink: The only authentic drink at the Oktoberfest, even for women, is beer. But caution is advisedthe typical Munich festival beer, specially brewed for Oktoberfest has a higher alcohol percentage than average. When drinking with others it is polite to clink your glasses, while looking the person in the eyes, and say “Prost”.
Jaunted Says: Whoanot true about beer being the only authentic drink! In fact, we'd argue there are two other beverages it's "authentic" to drink at Oktoberfest, both of which work out well for those who don't particularly enjoy chugging beer: champagne and schnapps. Look beyond the ginormous beer tents to the Weinzelt tent, a smaller tent that specializes in Nymphenburger Sektsekt being German champagne. Even smaller and dotted around the Theresienwiese are schnapps booths, where a few Euro goes a long way (towards getting drunkers).
If there's a world event that guarantees women will be wearing bust-enhancing, colorful dresses, you can bet that the current pop culture cuties will make an appearance for a prime photo-op. This is what's happening now with Germany's Oktoberfest. A couple weeks ago, the 200th Oktoberfest opened in Munich, and Kim Kardashian made sure to stop by with her mom for custom dirndl dresses and braided pigtails. Now it's Katy Perry's turn to be dirndl-ed up, but she's taken it beyond the fairgrounds and onto television.
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Ein Prosit...Ein Prosit...Der Gemütlichkeit! If you've ever been to the famous annual beer-and-pretzel smorgasbord that is Munich's Oktoberfest, then you should be able to sing that with a nice sloppy slur. It's one of the official toast songs of the two-week-long festival, and more revelers than ever are in town for this, its 200th Anniversary.
One of the more unexpected guests is Kim Kardashian, who dropped by the beer tents with her mom, Kris. The duo are trotting all over Europe on a press tour for their reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and they've managed to do typically tourist things at each major stop. They went sightseeing in London, to the Louvre in Paris, shopping in Milan and now they've got to do the Oktoberfest thing in Munich, of course.
Munich is definitely not the only place in Germany that knows how to celebrate with beer, and this weekend's Guardian UK had a great alternative Oktoberfest tip: head to Straubing, home to the second largest beer festival in Germany and one that might be more authentic than the one we know and love.
Located not too far down the Danube from tourist destination Regensburg, Straubing gets in early by celebrating its love of beer (and all things cultural) in Augustthis year it's August 7 to 17. The official name of the fest is the Gäubodenvolksfest and it gets about 1.2 million visitors a year, who pay a lot less for the beer here than down the road in Munich a month or so later. Seven beer tents offer only locally-brewed beers and we recommend getting there for the opening day of the festival for the "Bierprobe"the first tapping and trying of the beer. Prost!
· Here for the Beer [Guardian]
· Oktoberfest Post-Mortem: The Five Things You Need to Know for 2009 [Jaunted]
· Germany Travel Guide [Jaunted]
Oktoberfest 2008 has come and gone--in Germany at least--but the memories will live on forever. Thankfully, the vomit is easy enough to wash away.
This is a video from inside the Hofbrau tent at the storied Oktoberfest fair grounds in Munich. You can watch "Beer Fest" as many times as you like but nothing, we repeat, nothing can prepare you for the real Oktoberfest.
So to make it easier, we've put together this handy list of rules and tips to remember for Oktoberfest 2009.
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The 2008 Oktoberfest in Munich finished up over the weekend, and one English man was extremely glad to be there. We're thinking he needs a few travel tips because to get to Munich from Portsmouth, England, he decided to catch a taxi.
To be fair, he did try to catch a plane first but missed his flight. Not wanting to miss the beer (and his buddy's buck's night), he persuaded a local cab driver to get him all the way to Munich for a fare of £1,700 (almost $3,000). And he paid in cash.
We're not recommending using this method of travel across Europe, but perhaps some of the European low-cost airlines could consider it as a back-up plan when their flights have some of those all-too-regular delays?
· No Taxi Ride Too Long to Keep Man From Friends, Beer [Deutsche Welle]
· Beer Travel: Bavarian Premier Says Drinking Heaps is OK [Jaunted]
· Oktoberfest coverage [Jaunted]