Guide to Oktoberfest in Austria: How not to stick out?

Ogi Savic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Oktoberfest is the festival that rings the bell of every beer lover in the world. In the last years, it became one of the most known festivals globally that is celebrated in many cities. Austria, with many Oktoberfest parties organized all over the country, is not an exception. In order to plan your visit properly, understand what it is about, and how not to stick out like a sore thumb, you should read this guide to Oktoberfest.

Why Oktoberfest in September?

First, to make it clear, Oktoberfest is in September. Don’t get too confused by the fact that the majority of the famous beer festival isn’t actually taking place in October. I know many are. But there is, in fact, a logical explanation of how one of the biggest misnomers came to be. The final day of Oktoberfest has a relatively fixed spot on the calendar. The first Sunday in October should be the last day of Oktoberfest. However, the festival has been so successful since the beginning, so the organizers often decide to make it last longer. The best way to do that is to capitalize on the warm September weather. Nowadays, almost every Oktoberfest celebrated in the world (and there are lots of them), starts in September. Curiously, some of them end even before October begins. Typically, the Oktoberfest lasts up to three weeks, but in general, you need just one day to experience it.

Is it all about beer?

In order to explain how and why the Oktoberfest is celebrated, we have to go back to history. The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in Munich. The reason was a celebration of the marriage between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Royal wedding took place in October 1810, and the citizens of Bavaria were invited to the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate this event. There were horse races organized and even an agricultural show the following year. As the choices of amusement have grown, the carousels were introduced, and the beer stands became beer tents. The rest is history, and the global drinking community has never looked back since. Although the first Oktoberfest was not only about beer and pretzels, nowadays, it pretty much is. However, be careful with beer. Most locals tend to visit the Oktoberfest only for a day. More days at Oktoberfest is something that I wouldn’t suggest to anyone. It can be a pure overkill and a damage your liver.

© iStock / master1305

Oktoberfest mania

After more than 2 centuries, the original Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest festival in the world. However, Oktoberfest mania has spread across the globe. The second biggest Oktoberfest is in Qingdao in China. Around 3 million visitors enjoy bits and pieces of Alpine culture far away from its natural environment. In Austria, almost every town has its own Oktoberfest; therefore you should check out the additional articles which present some of the finest Oktoberfests in the Alpine country and one dedicated to Wiener Wiesn, the Vienna's take on Oktoberfest.

© iStock / bukki88

What to wear?

The best way to blend in with the crowd is to wear something traditional. You for sure know, at least from the photos or the movie “Sound of Music”, what a typical Alpine outfit looks like. Folk costumes are the attire of choice. With the traditional tracht, lederhose, or dirndl, there is no mistake. The colorful variety of this garment is available for purchase at almost every corner, especially in September.

© iStock / filmfoto

Now that you have read this guide to Oktoberfest, you'll know how not to stick out. Understanding the reasons why it's celebrated, when and where to attend, and what to wear, you are ready to have the time of your life.

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