Only a few more days until the fun starts once again on the „Theresienwiese“ in Munich. This year’s Oktoberfest will be the 184th from 16th September to 3rd October 2017. The world’s biggest Volksfest will put the city in an annual state of exception: locals celebrate alongside tourists from all over the world in high-spirits, usually in a peaceful manner in Munich’s late summer. Every year this leads to peculiar stories, new inventions and some scandals. As a warm-up to Munich’s 5th season, we gathered some old and new Wiesn-stories.
The most popular Wiesn-song is originally from Saxony
In between proper traditional Bavarian music and popular party hits, one song is played over and over again: „Ein Prosit“ (Cheers). One might think the song is as old as Bavaria itself, but far from it! The composer of „Ein Prosit“, Bernhard Dietrich, is actually from the city of Chemnitz in Saxony and wrote the song originally without the Bavarian addition „Oans, zwoa, gsuffa!“ (One, two, drink!). One can hear his „Prosit“ being played at full volume in all of the tents on the Oktoberfest since 1912 – thus, being one of the biggest imported cultural goods.
Paper trousers for wannabe-exhibitionists
Wherever large quantities of beer flow freely, a jolly party mood sooner or later does not come as a surprise. Some members of the party crowd may feel like expressing their drunk happiness by taking off one or more pieces of clothing – the reasons to do so are usually a bit difficult to understand in retrospect. The Red Cross, however, hands out paper trousers to all those who have lost their own in a state of drunkenness, so nobody has to start their journey home without trousers on. First aid is being interpreted in many ways at the Wiesn.
Stage fright – a devil’s poison …
When the Oktoberfest starts, hardly any person is as much the centre of attention as Munich’s current lord mayor. He is the one who taps the first barrel of beer in the “Schottenhammel” tent every year since 1950. It was a spontaneous idea of Thomas Wimmer: at the time, it took him 19 strikes and ended in his shouting out “O´zapft is!” (“It is tapped!”). During Christian Udes’ long term in office, he perfected his technique and got the job done with merely two clean hits. In 1976 lord mayor Erich Kiesl experienced the pressure this situation can cause, leading to some confusion and a funny twist of words: after he successfully tapped the barrel he shouted out “I`zapft os!”
A scandal in Munich’s restricted area
… was avoided last minute by the cities’ authorities in 2009: that year, the operators of Munich’s famous brothel Pascha came up with a very special idea to canvas for customers. They wanted to organise a free shuttle service which would take interested visitors from the Oktoberfest straight to the Pascha. This rather profitable idea was stopped last minute and saved many Oktoberfest-visitors from further surprisingly high expenses.
Fashion-trends of the Oktoberfest 2017
Traditional Bavarian clothing is as popular as every year. There are not only the more simple Dirndl and Lederhosen you can currently get at Aldi and Lidl for very little money, but also some rather extraordinary versions: for this year’s season, Kinga Mathe, a designer from Stuttgart, created a Dirndl made from only the most exquisite fabrics at a price of Euro 27,500. This high-priced traditional dress is made exclusively of silk and one of the buttons on the bodice features a diamond.
Adidas has a more pragmatic approach: the producer of sportswear presented this years trainers design “Munich MIG” and advertises its material to be beer repellent. You can surely imagine what other liquids these trainers, which come in a traditional Bavarian design, can repel.
The myth around the waitresses and waiters at the Wiesn
There are many myths around the work and especially the wage of the waitresses and waiters at the Oktoberfest. Some rumour their assertiveness and strength gets the women (and men) enormous pay checks. Supposedly, they make up to Euro 15,000 in two weeks. The reality is not quite as bright, however, still pretty lucrative: a waitress in one of the tents earns around Euro 5,200 on average, certainly a bit more in the VIP-boxes. Regardless of the place of action, this job is very much sought after: many waitresses and waiters hand their position down within their family and job openings are gone within the blink of an eye.
Wiesn-waitresses are precious at the Oktoberfest: even petite women carry up to 18 Maß (mugs). This counts as a workout with a beer mug. One litre of beer weighs around one kilo and an empty mug more or less 1.3 kilos. Therefore, one mug of beer at the Oktoberfest weighs 2.3 kilos. If a waitress carries 18 Maß at once, she carries 41.4 kilos!
We are curious to find out about the stories, attractions, wonderful moments and shockers this years’ Oktoberfest holds for its visitors. We certainly hope you enjoy your stay!