How to Enjoy Oktoberfest Without Drinking

Auf zum Oktoberfest! Even though 7 million litres of beer are consumed every year during this well-known German ‘Beerfest’ in Munich, the event is still family-friendly, and open to everyone! Surprisingly, Oktoberfest isn’t only about celebrating beer. Children, families or anyone who do not hold beer close to their heart can still participate in the festivities. Read on to discover 8 ways to fully live the experience!

Some will say: "What’s the point of going to Oktoberfest without drinking a good pint of beer?". Others will tell you that this festival is above all a popular and friendly gathering, aiming at celebrating Bavarian traditions with joy and good spirit! Still not sure if this is worth going? Go ahead and try to enjoy Oktoberfest no matter what, otherwise, you might end up missing on the most famous event of Germany! Check out below how you can, in your own way, enjoy these weeks of Bavarian festivities…

Celebrating Oktoberfest differently!

Wear the traditional outfit

If there’s one thing you absolutely have to do during Oktoberfest, it’s wearing the traditional Bavarian outfit, which you will see everywhere in the streets of Munich. You might have already seen these: short and leather suspenders for men – the Lederhose – and the amazingly low-necked dress worn by women – the Dirndl. They are a must-have for this event. Early birds will have the best deals, as they are out of stock pretty quickly, and cost less during low season! You can also wear accessories like hats, jewellery, shoes…all Bavarian-inspired, of course! So hurry up and get dressed for Oktoberfest!

Discover German Gastronomy

German love beer indeed but they also love eating. Oktoberfest is one more excuse to discover the typical cuisine of South Germany. On the menu is generally some chicken, roasted pork, sausages, Spätzle, Knödel (potato balls), some cabbage… and of course some pretzels! Please note that the actual German spelling is Brezel. You will not find more traditional food as during Oktoberfest, so do no forget to eat when you get there!

Learn some traditional German songs

Prepare yourself, Oktoberfest is also about singing your heart out on some of the best ‘hits’ of the German but most of all Bavarian popular songs. Be sure to learn the lyrics beforehand if you want to give your body and soul to this traditional activity. The atmosphere is very lively and there is no need to sing right to join in. These songs are also very popular during Carnival time in February, they are very festive and very well known by anyone, even the youngest ones!

Speak… Bavarian?

If you already have a bit of German knowledge, you will quickly realise that people there speak… with a particular accent! Here are a few words from the Bavarian dialect:

Grüß Gott / Servus : Good day / Hello
Pfiaddi : Goodbye
Bía : beer
Minga : Munich
Daitschland : Germany

Visit Munich, the Capital of Bavaria

Munich - München in German – is a go-to when travelling in Germany during Oktoberfest. This is THE place for the festivities. With its 1.5 million inhabitants, Munich is not only the third biggest city of the country but also the capital of Bavaria. There, you will find the old city with its magnificent architecture including the Rathaus on Marienplatz, have a walk around the Englischen Garten, one of the biggest innercity garden in the world, and visit the Frauenkirsche or the Deutsches Museum if you have time! Otherwise, you can always pay us a visit in our new language school in Munich and learn a bit of German for the occasion!

See the biggest fair in the world

The gigantic empty land where the Oktoberfest is hosted – commonly called the Wiesn – transforms into a huge fairground, which is supposed to be the biggest in the world: it has around 200 rides and 6 million visitors every year. Among the most popular rides are the Riesenrad (Ferris wheel), the Hexenschaukel (a ride based on optical illusion) and also slides… some of them dating from the 19th century!

Party for two whole weeks

Oktoberfest is primarily a popular fest. And fest means party! Many music sets and concerts are organised during the two weeks of the event and you will also be able to attend the opening parade of Oktoberfest and dance (or sing) along with the crowd! The city of Munich also changes and every bar and restaurant opens its doors to welcome groups of friends or families. You will find that there is a genuine festive mood among the people of Bavaria!

Explore Bavaria

Making the most of Oktoberfest also means getting the opportunity to explore Bavaria. This 'Land' is the biggest in Germany and provides its visitors with amazing landscapes made from mountains and beautiful nature. The image you might have already in mind when thinking of Bavaria isn’t a myth. South Germany is a place everyone finds charming and mesmerising! So if you are going to Oktoberfest with the Bavarians, do not miss on their wonderful region and explore the wonderful countryside around Munich! You will not regret paying a visit to Germany...

Did you know? - 7 historical facts about Oktoberfest

  • The first Oktoberfest took place in October 17th 1810.
  • At the root of Oktoberfest is actually a wedding. Indeed in 1810, in Munich, Louis the 1st of Bavaria wedded Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Thus, huge festivities were organised, making it a tradition to celebrate the anniversary of this royal marriage.
  • The land where is celebrated Oktoberfest was originally named Theresienwiese – literally "the meadow of Therese" – from the name of the Bavarian princess. Nowadays, the place is more commonly called the Wiesn.
  • In 1872, organisers decided to push forward the date of Oktoberfest to mid-September in order to enjoy the last weeks of summer. Therefore, they decided to extend the festivities to the 1st weekend of October.
  • In the 1920s, during Oktoberfest, visitors were only served Munich-brewed beer. No other beer could be commercialised. Every tent on the Wiesn  belonged to a brewery from Munich (Augustiner, Löwenbrau, Paulaner...).
  • It was only in the 1950s that Munich Mayor started to traditionally open the first beer of Oktoberfest, on the first Saturday of the fest, at exactly noon.
  • Since 2010, the 200th year anniversary of Oktoberfest, a southern section of the Wiesn offers differents attrations illustratring the history of the popular fest. The place is called Oide Wiesn  and it is 3-euro entry.
So go ahead and take part in the wonderful festivities of Oktoberfest ! The official programme is here: Oktoberfest programme 2015. Dates of the event: from September 19th to October4th.

And for the bravest ears, here is an extract of Bavarian music!