Oktoberfest 2017 takes place between 16.09 to 03.10. Although every day at the Oktoberfest is fun, there are special days to mark on your calendar where a special event takes place.
Here are the days to mark on your calendar:
This is the first day of Oktoberfest and the first event of Oktoberfest is the parade of tent patrons. The first day of Munich, the tent patrons, the stall owners and employees and the breweries line up, some in carriages, some on foot, and walk to the Oktoberfest area (Theresienwiese) passing through the city. The marching bands, the beautiful ornamented horses and carriages, and the whole Oktoberfest crew saluting the public are a great sight!
The parade takes off from Sonnenstrasse at 10:50. You can see the route they follow on the map, marked with the red line.
I have always watched it on Schwanthalerstrasse. It is a long street and you can always find a place to fit in.
Here is a video I took last year:
The parade ends in Theresienwiese, the festival area. The mayor and VIP go to the Schottenhammel for the official opening ceremony the mayor of the city taps the first Oktoberfest beer keg by a wooden hammer. It is an important thing to note how many hammer blows did it take the mayor to tap the keg. Last year, the mayor did a great job with two hammer blows. Let’s see how he will do this year. Once the first keg is tapped, he shouts out “O’zapft is” which means “It is tapped”. The festival area is informed about it by fire-cracker shooting. After that, the beer can be served in every tent.
The first Sunday is the day when the traditional costume parade happens. Not only the costumes are traditional. but also the parade itself. It started in 1835 for celebrating the marriage of King Ludwig 1 and his wife Theresie which marked also the start of Oktoberfest. The parade always hosts a huge variety of traditional costumes, habits, and dances. There are many groups from all Germany and many countries of Europe including Austria, Italy, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This year there will be around 9500 people in the parade. It will take 2 hours and will be done in any weather condition.
The parade starts at Maximillianstrasse, marches to Odeonsplatz, passes from Stachus and continues to Sonnenstrasse and Schwanthalerstrasse and finally reaches to Oktoberfest area. You can see the route on this map marked with blue.
Here is a video from last year:
This is the first family day where fun rides and prices in the food stalls are discounted till 7 pm.
23.09 Saturday – 24.09 Sunday
The second weekend of Oktoberfest is the Italian weekend. Traditionally Italian visitors choose to visit Oktoberfest on this weekend. Expect to hear a lot of Italian spoken around you and most probably with you 🙂 The Italian weekend has become such a tradition that even a police team from Italy joins German police in the festival area that weekend.
The highlight of this day is the Traditional Oktoberfest Concert at the feet of Bavaria. At 11 am the brass bands of all Oktoberfest tents come together and play the most popular songs of Oktoberfest on the stairs by the feet of Bavaria statue. The orchestra of 300 musicians is directed by the mayor of Munich.
Here is a video from last year:
This is the second and last family day where fun rides and prices in the food stalls are discounted till 7pm.
This is the last day of Oktoberfest. It is also the German Unity Day and public holiday in Germany. At noon (12 pm) by the feet of Bavaria Statue, there is the Oktoberfest Traditional Gun Salute (Böllerschießen in German.) This is a traditional event marking the end of Oktoberfest where riflemen come together and fire a round.
Here is how it looks:
The Closing night is very special.
Most of the tents make a special ceremony in the last minutes of Oktoberfest. They dim the lights, distribute sparklers, and you find yourself in a wonderful scene with beautiful light and people singing together. If you can, be in a tent before 10 pm to be part of it.
Here is an example from 2014:
These were the important days to mark during Oktoberfest.
I hope you have a great one!