Updated: February 16th, 2018
CURRENT MOOD: Post-Oktoberfest depression. ☹️ 🙅🏻 💩
Who do I need to talk to about getting an emoji of someone in sweatpants laid out on the floor with a continuous stream of the hit 90’s sitcom Frazier playing in the background? Asking for a friend…
Okay, you got me. I returned from my recent Eurotrip two weeks ago and have yet to leave my house. I haven’t even unpacked. I’ve been army crawling around my living room in the same T-shirt and pink flannel pajama pants for four straight days–you know the ones. Well, you do if you’re my mother-in-law because you bought them for me. Or you’re my husband who is alarmingly tolerant…
It has a little bit to do with the four or so days I spent jet-lagged to high heavens and the ensuing cold that took over and destroyed my body like the white man to the New World. (Happy belated Columbus Day, by the way!) However, I think the brunt of it comes from the fact that Oktoberfest is OVER and Oktoberfest 2017 is a friggin’ year away. On the plus side, a little more of this cold medicine and all I’ll have to do is just close my eyes and I’ll wake up a year from now.
Munich Oktoberfest is my happy place. You probably figured this out already from the unadulterated bliss evident in my profile picture. Or by the Irish cheese platter that is my face in this picture:
I care not about the level of goober prevalent for much of the month of September for I am on a completely elevated plane of euphoria for this brief period. It’s but a short time that I get to WEAR a COOKIE that I will later tear into like a Targaryen to a horse heart. It’s during this time when I can finally admit that deep down polka is muh jam, an apron is a fashion accessory (finally, for the love of Louboutin!), and I appear endowed with two additional cup sizes. This is what you get when you walk into Victoria’s Secret and ask, “So how much cleavage can you get me?” (More on that here.)
So while this year’s celebrations are sadly over, putting on jeans and recapping the adventure is half the fun. (I promised my husband I would put actual pants on today. I didn’t say anything about shoes or a bra though… hey-o!). So here’s my 2016 Oktoberfest recap:
MY WANDERLUSTY OKTOBERFEST RECAP – 2016 EDITION
I attended Oktoberfest this year with my husband and two close friends–one who attended with us in 2014 and her boyfriend who was enjoying the crap out of both his first international trip and his first few snorts of weis’nkoks. It seems like only yesterday we were chugging beers and dancing around like a washed-up NFL player to a Latin dance anthem–and now, once again, the tents were raging, as raging as polka can be; pure liquid gold pumped through our veins; the sweet German girl next to us just slapped the everloving shit out of a stranger. Oktoberfest 2016 was off to a predictably fantastic start.
2016 OKTOBERFEST RECAP: BY THE NUMBERS
- Days visited: 2
- Tents visited: 4
- Half chickens devoured as if it was the last food on Earth: 2, talk about restraint!
- Pretzels bigger than my head consumed: 1
- Beers drizunk: Yeah, like I remember…
- Lines of weisn’koks snorted: ehhh like 10 probably
- Times I shot a gun: 1
- Times I got trapped in the bathroom because what I thought was a mirror was actually the way out: Just 1, I swear.
- Times I had to explain to Germans that not everyone from the American South is a “redneck”: one too many
- Handfuls of food thrown at strangers who couldn’t finish their liter: 2
- Times I hit my target: zero, wah-wahhhh
2016 OKTOBERFEST RECAP: NEW EXPERIENCES
The thing about travel is you can visit the same destination over and over and never have the same experience. So when people say, “Didn’t you just go to […]?” or “Haven’t you already been to […]?” you can just go tell them something about their mother. Even an event like Oktoberfest that comes around every year with the same agenda can puke new experiences all over you. Too far? Here are some of my Oktoberfirsts:
AN EMPTY BEER TENT
Have you ever seen something with so much promise? So much potential for greatness? This shot could very well be the focus of one of those motivational posters on the wall behind your boss’s desk. It would say something like “POSSIBILITY: So many people are getting drunk today.”
This is what Oktoberfest for breakfast looks like. (Oktobreakfest? Breaktoberfest? There’s gotta be something in there!) Remember last time when I told you to get your ass out of bed with the sun? This is your reward–a smorgasbord of places to put your butt. Turns out, the best part of waking up is… beer. It really is good to the last drop.
Being the first and practically only person in the Armbrustschützenzelt was an awesome experience thanks wholly to my friends at Thirsty Swagman who arranged a reserved balcony table for me and my crew. It’s otherwise virtually impossible to reserve seats, let alone a balcony spot… let even more alone an actual (and complimentary) Oktoberfest breakfast:
It’s always great when someone does all the work for you, no? All I had to do was show up thirsty.
HANGING OUT WITH A 50-YEAR VETERAN
Chris Barton-Fox just attended his 50th Munich Oktoberfest–a statement made even more spectacular by the fact that he isn’t a day over 25!
We had the pleasure of sharing a table with this Oktoberfest legend and his lovely wife, Mo. As you can expect, the stories he had to tell were both endless and hilarious. I highly recommend you bring one of these to your next Oktoberfest celebration.
Earlier this year Thirsty Swagman’s Oktoberfest site featured Foxy’s personal 50-years-in-the-making story which you can find here. However, the priceless anecdotes behind his hat and lederhosen are alllll mine. They invited Foxy to spend his 50th Oktoberfest as their personal guest and I’m so thrilled they did.
Prost to 50 more, Foxy!
In a way that can only be described as Stigmata, my husband began to bleed from his hand while we were walking down the street. I swear to God, that’s all we were doing. His reaction? “Ehh, whatever.” My reaction? “TO THE FIRST AID TENT!” Also: “Bandages! MORE BANDAGES!”
Was I half-mocking the severity of the situation? Absolutely. But in my defense so were the paramedics who treated his injury like the emergency room trauma case that it was. “WE’VE GOT A BLEEDER! HURRY COME IN! SIT ON THE TABLE!”
It was then that they ever so carefully and with the utmost precision… stuck the Band-Aid onto his hand. NBC nighttime dramas have got nothing on these guys.
So if you’ve ever wondered about the first aid tents at Oktoberfest–I know I have–I can tell you they were all completely and shockingly empty. They were also clean, abundantly staffed, and sarcastic as shit.
2016 OKTOBERFEST RECAP: THE TENTS
The Armbootzoot… the Ambrututustutus… the Armbrewshoot me I’m over this. I remember this being a lot easier to say after a few liters. I feel a drunken slur helps immensely when trying to speak a foreign language anyway. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that you should never play Scrabble with a German.
Anyway, the Armboo-tootie-toot, if that’s your real name, is better known in English-speaking circles as the Crossbow Shooter’s Tent. Did this horrify me at first? Yes. Anytime there’s an inference to hunting animals for sport I get all sad and Puss-in-Boots-y. Hunting should be reserved for those on the Oregon Trail who are cold, hungry and about to either ford a river or caulk the wagon and float across, which never f*cking worked. However, I was also against guns until I found out what a great shot I am. I wonder what else I condone that I’m probably great at… driving a Hummer? selling drugs? wearing floral patterns?
The Armbrustie-roostiebelt is both more kickass and harmless than it lets on. For starters, while it’s full of seemingly stuffed animal heads, they’re actually all fake. Plus, the only sense that weird clock on the tent’s exterior makes is that it forms the smile of the tower’s face. Doesn’t it look so much more inviting now?
Now when I say this tent is kickass, I’m specifically referring to the fact that there’s a crossbow shooting range IN HERE SOMEWHERE. I was psyched to hear this because what goes better with a few beers than some target practice? (Okay, I admit my redneck argument is completely invalid.) However, hand me a beer and all planning and preparation go out the window. I completely forgot to seek this out as soon as that stein hit my lips. Besides, this is the most important day of my cleavage’s year and I can’t risk any crossbow recoil damaging muh goods.
A few Armbrustschützenfacts:
- Awarded the “Environment” gold plaque by the Bavarian Ministry to State for the Environment
- This tent holds a crossbow shooting competition every year.
- Number of inside seats: 5,830
- Number of outside seats: 1,600
- First opened: 1895 (Also in 1895: volleyball is invented, the first commercial movie is played, X-rays become a thing)
Shout out to Thirsty Swagman for showing us such a great time in the Armbrucewillis, a tent I may have otherwise never experienced. #greenismycolor
If you think visiting the Marstall tent at Oktoberfest makes you feel like a kid again, you’re absolutely right. Specifically that time you got separated from your parents at the fair and were simultaneously thrilled and terrified. (Either way you were pissing your pants.)
After a literal five hours in the Armbrustschützenzelt (I did it!) our friends at Thirsty Swagman asked if we were ready to move on. And after a forgotten number of liters, the answer to any question is always a resounding YES!
- Wanna drink beer out of my shoe? YES!
- Wanna get on my shoulders? YES! Even though I’m 6’5″ and not at all sober? YES!
- Wanna get a meter wiener? YES!
Our Thirsty Swagman crew had a handful of empty tables waiting for us at the Marstall tent so I guess they really do know all the right people. Same way I can get you floor seats to the Celtics any time you want*. I remember little after this except the spinning carousel bandstand and the sight of some guy drinking out of his shoe–both leading me to believe we were in some sort of psychedelic circus dream.
*Provided you give me at least a year’s advance notice and like $800 per person.
Some quick Marstall facts:
- Turns out the Marstall has less to do with the circus and more to do with snooty aristocratic equestrians. The theme here is the more general “horses” rather than “fabulous rainbow unicorns” but I like to call it as I see it.
- They also serve wine and champagne (I told you, sna-hoooo-ty)
- Number of indoor seats: 3,200
- Number of outdoor seats: 1,000
- First opened: 2014 (Also in 2014: the ebola crisis, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears, but John Travolta mispronounces Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars and everyone freaks the f*ck out)
I. love. the. Hacker. Pschorr. tent.
No matter when you show up, there’s always a party in the HPT. And ain’t no party like a Hacker-Pschorr party ’cause a Hacker-Pschorr party is still less dangerous than getting in the back of a U-Haul with a polka band and driving cross-country.
I love the revolving bandstand smack in the middle, the service is perfection, and is there anything more beautiful than this Bavarian Heaven?
The interior of this tent was designed by Rolf Zehetbauer, a friggin’ Oscar winner. I love all the light, the retractable roof, and the insinuation that it’s a warm, sunny summer day. It reminds me of being eight years old on the playground, making necklaces out of weeds and flowers without a care in the world. Then I drink loads of beer and finally start acting like it.
Some quick Hack facts:
- The Hacker-Pschorr festzelt occupies 13,000 glorious square feet.
- Number of indoor pseats: 6,950
- Number of outdoor pseats: 2,350
- First opened: 1907 (Also in 1907: taxis first start operating in NYC, Adolf Hitler’s mother dies from complications associated with breast cancer, the first radio transmission of a musical composition occurs)
We visited the Schottenhammel tent at the suggestion of our new friend Foxy. This is monumental because I rarely take the suggestions of people I just met. Nothing good can come of it. I usually end up wildly disappointed or rubbing some crystals on my body during a full moon.
THIS… this was different. The Schottenhammel tent is WHERE. IT’S. AT. We had so much fun and made so many new friends that didn’t try to convince me that pugs make the best pets. The Schottenhammel has THE BEST roast chicken, the best entertainment, and the lighting is ideal if you’ve been searching for that perfect spot to recreate the opening credits of How I Met Your Mother.
A bit of Schottenhammel need-to-know:
- It’s the most important Oktoberfest tent. It’s here that the mayor taps the first keg and shouts, “O’ZAPFT IS!” so that Oktoberfest can begin.
- It’s the largest tent: 6,000 indoor seats and 4,000 outdoor seats.
- First opened: 1867 (Also in 1867: Dynamite is patented, Canada is now a thing, U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for the price of what some houses in Massachusetts cost today–way too much)
OKTOBERFEST RECAP | WHAT I LEARNED IN 2016
When you’re at an event like Oktoberfest in Munich, everything is happening so fast that you may not even realize you’ve tucked your dirndl into your underwear. Because of this, you don’t notice all that you’ve learned this go around until you’re back at home under a blanket of Kleenex and damp washcloths. And cats, let’s be real here. Now that I’ve had some time to review my time in Germany (and also shower, but didn’t), here’s what I learned at Oktoberfest 2016:
⇢ You don’t necessarily need to show up at the crack of dawn as long as you’re willing to sweet-talk a server. Being type-A often prevents me from showing up to things late so getting a head start on my beer drinking is a given. However, when you want to change tents later in the afternoon when they’re already full, sometimes it just takes getting lucky and finding the server with the shittiest customers she’s more than ready to kick out. We owe our fabulous time in the Schottenhamel tent to Ingrid, Oktoberfest’s most kickass waitress. Being a polite and understanding human being can work wonders.
⇢ How to sew a pocket. It’s true, oddly enough. The sons of bitches who made my new dirndl only put in ONE DAMN POCKET. I don’t know about your level of neuroses but I found this INFURIATING. It was also the right pocket for the love of God. My friend Jennifer says it was because you only need one pocket since your other hand is holding a stein. She’s too smart for her own good sometimes so I told her to SUCK IT. Then I cut up an old pillow case and watched a handful of YouTube tutorials. Here I am bragging about my left pocket:
⇢ If you don’t want to lose track of your friends, you should just tie yourselves together. It’s really the only way.
⇢ Forget Tinder, and Bumble, or Floogendoody or whatever… Apparently, chugging beer is the best way to get noticed by the opposite sex. Case in point, these two photos:
Unless you’re this guy…
⇢ We attended Oktoberfest this year on a Thursday and Friday and thought for sure we’d have trouble finding seats. Well, we didn’t. Were we just lucky or was it because we were there towards the end of the festival? I’m willing to bet it was. Last year we attended just two days after the start of it and practically had to sit on top of each other.
⇢ I will never be this smooth:
⇢ My Schneeberg brings all the boys to the yard. And they’re like, “Gimme some more of that white stuff that goes up my nose.” Told you I’d be good at selling drugs… Translated literally that bottle says, “Poschl’s Refreshment-Prize… Snow mountain… with grape sugar.” For more information on the white powder you see everyone snorting at Oktoberfest, see this post before forwarding this one to the proper authorities.
⇢ Traveling with a tour operator like Thirsty Swagman makes life so much easier. When you don’t have to do the planning and the arranging and the decision making and the reserving that leaves so much time open for the drinking and the dancing and the chicken eating and the singing songs you don’t know at the top of your lungs.
OKTOBERFEST RECAP | WHAT I STILL NEED TO KNOW
WHAT IS UP with the naked restroom babies? I mean, I’m glad someone is showing me the way to the toilet but why a naked baby on what looks to be a crock of French onion soup? Is there a story behind this? And why are there two circles on his arrow?
Also, what’s with the clothespins? I have no recollection of this from before. You’re just supposed to wear them around on your shirt? Like a cast member from the movie The Help?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE PART OF OKTOBERFEST?
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Big danke to Thirsty Swagman for sponsoring this post and for providing such an awesome and unique Oktoberfest experience. As always, all opinions are my own and I will never promote something I don’t personally believe in, regardless of who foots the bill.