Oktoberfest 22: a big party in the rain31 October 2022
/ A welcome return for the Munich Oktoberfest, held last month after a 2-year hiatus /
The forecast was for uncertain if not bad weather in Munich in the second half of September, and it was not wrong. The 2022 Oktoberfest – the 187th in its history – held from 17 September to 3 October, was largely accompanied by rain and cool temperatures: always unwelcome companions when it comes to outdoor events, but this year even more so, since this large German beer festival was returning after a 2-year stop for well-known reasons.
Fortunately, the bad weather was overcome by the enthusiasm of visitors and the organisers, happy to finally be able to savour a new-found normality and the collective fun that is typical of this very famous German festival. As Clemens Baumgartner, Munich City Councillor for Labor and Economic Development, said at the end of the event, “guests in the 7-digit range have celebrated their Oktoberfest and shown how much they care about it. Despite all the bad news, people want their freedom and fun back. For this, the Wiesn was a powerful demonstration.”
According to initial estimates, over the 2 weeks of the event, Oktoberfest attracted 5.7 million visitors this year (the number was 6.3 million in 2019), with a good percentage of foreigners (from the USA, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal) and a lower average age than in past events.
Rivers of beer and good food
Oktoberfest means above all beer by the best German brands, accompanied by typical dishes, live music and good company; all enjoyed seated at the tables in the famous beer tents, the largest of which are managed directly by the 6 major local breweries (Paulaner, Augustiner, Spaten, Haecker-Pschorr, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu) and that can seat up to 10,000 people.
This year there were 17 main tents (plus over 20 smaller tents), serving 5.6 million litres of beer (about 15% less than in 2019), priced between 12.60 and 13.80 euros per Maß, the typical one-liter mug.
One aspect observed by all insiders was the increasing attention by patrons to good, quality food, and a growing demand for organic products, vegetarian and vegan dishes, alongside the classics such as pork shank or typical Bratwurst sausages with sauerkraut.
Attractions: a great show, albeit nothing much new
Oktoberfest is not just for lovers of beer and Bavarian cuisine. The other main attraction at the festival is the funfair, covering an area of 34.5ha and that this year hosted 180 rides and sideshows for all ages and from different eras. There was no shortage of classics such as the Olympia Looping, the largest portable rollercoaster in the world with an impressive 5 loops, the 50m high Riesenrad Ferris wheel or Teufelsrad (Devil’s Wheel), which first came to Oktoberfest in the early 1900s and still entertains even today, without resorting to technology. It comprises a large platform that rotates faster and faster, with riders trying to stay seated (or lying down), overcoming the centrifugal force.
At every Oktoberfest there are also new attractions, sometimes world premières. The latter was not the case this year, with 2 rides making their first appearance in Munich, yet with many years’ experience at other funfairs: Circus Circus, a family ride similar to an Octopus, yet with more intense movements, manufactured by Huss in 1989 and owned by the Gründler/Preuß family, and Balloon Ride, a 13m high children ride, a Zamperla model manufactured in 2001 and the pride of the Heitkamp-Krakor family.
The Oidn Wiesn (Old Oktoberfest) section also deserves mention: located in the southern part of the Theresienwiese (the area where the Oktoberfest is held), it is an old-fashioned amusement park in its own right, covering about…
Photos Courtesy: ©Annette Goettlicher, ©Sebastian Lehner
© All rights reserved