When most people think of Oktoberfest, they think of beer. A LOT OF BEER. This festival has approximately 6.3 million visitors each year and they consume 6.5 Million litres of beer. Yes, these are insane stats and they contribute to this being the largest festival in the world. What I have learned while living in Munich is that Oktoberfest is dirty, stinky, and well, makes the city a mess for 2.5 weeks in the Fall. But, I have also learned that there are many beautiful sides to it as well, that is if you know where to go and when.
This year I made sure to attend the annual Oktoberfest parade, held on the the second Oktoberfest Sunday at 10am. This is a parade where hundreds of people march through the city in traditional clothing. It also includes many traditional marching bands from throughout Bavaria as well as the beautifully decorated horses and wagons that pull the many barrels of beer to and from the festival. I was so happy to see all the smiling faces, surprised to see the many residents that came out, and by the amazing effort that is put into it by all the parties present. I have lived here in Munich for 4 years now and this was my first time seeing the parade. It is an event completely worth attending year after year. If you can force yourself out of bed on a Sunday morning that is :)
I also attended Oktoberfest this year on a Monday afternoon/evening just to photograph. I spent 4 hours watching the people, photographing, and riding the gigantic ferris wheel, something I have been wanting to do for years. This was very enjoyable on a very sunny Monday afternoon. A perfect time to view the festival when it wasn’t too busy, before the people were too drunk, and because the weather was just perfect.
If you have not been to Oktoberfest in Munich. I would highly recommend it. It is crazy, busy, full and expensive, but I am learning to love it, and can see why the people of Munich cherish it year after year.