Oktoberfest

BEER, Pretzels, Partying

Manfred Eckl is 44 years old—and has been going to Oktoberfest for as many years. First as a wide-eyed little boy, then as a kid helping out with his grandparents’ fairground ride, and now running his own ride since the year 2000. He knows the world’s largest public festival inside and out, and jotted down his own Oktoberfest A-B-Cs for ABOUT TRUST.

Photo Hahn und Hartung

 for Assembly & Set-Up 

We usually set up our ride, Techno Power, a week before the start. It takes about two days to get it all assembled. The general set-up for Oktoberfest gets started in July, with the big tents.

 


Photo: iStock

 for Beer, Pretzels and Roast Chicken  

Beer is something I don’t drink very often, but a soft pretzel—we call them Brezn in German—or bratwurst is a must. Sixty thousand hectoliters of beer and 510,000 roast chickens are served during the two weeks of the Oktoberfest.

 


Photo: Shutterstock

 for Chemnitz 

This city in Saxony has more to do with Oktoberfest than you might think. “A toast to Gemütlichkeit”— which means coziness or friendliness in German—is the hit song that is played most often during the festival. But the song itself was written in Chemnitz.

 


Photo: iStock

 for Drones 

Drones are becoming a more common sight, flying over the facilities. The large tents traditionally have timbered frames, the structural integrity of which is inspected by TÜV SÜD. Since last year, drones assist with this task.

 


 for Einstein 

Hardly anyone knows that Albert Einstein actually worked at an Oktoberfest! Not as a waiter in a beer tent, but as an apprentice for his father’s electrical company.

 


 

 for Fairground Rides 

Since 2009 I’ve been running Techno Power, Europe’s fastest whirligig—it’s been measured. For me, I like to take a ride on a rollercoaster with quintuple loops. The oldest ride is the Krinoline gondola carousel, which has been at Oktoberfest since 1924.

 


 for Gemütlichkeit 

Gemütlichkeit—coziness or friendliness—is something that Oktoberfest has in spades. Whoever hasn’t been here has a gap in their education, I say. Oktoberfest is pure Gemütlichkeit, it’s got to be experienced.

 


 for History  

Oktoberfest first took place on October 17, 1810. Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese were getting married in Munich. In honor of the royal couple, there was a horse race just outside the city walls, and so began the Oktoberfest. I’ve been here since my birth, the fourth generation taking part.

 


Photo: Shutterstock

 for (Bella) Italia

At 19 percent, Italian guests make up the largest share of foreign visitors to Oktoberfest. Most of them arrive during the second “festa della birra” weekend in Munich.

 


 for Jubilee 

In 1867, carpenter Michael Schottenhamel set up a little wooden shack on Theresienwiese. The family still takes part in Oktoberfest every year, the event’s longest participants.

 


 for Kids 

Bavarian folk music used to be played in the tents, where the older folks were. The kids would be out with us at the stands and rides. Now all the teenagers dance on the tables to pop music. I hope that’ll change again soon.. 

 


Photo: Fotolia

 for Lederhosen 

Lederhosen, the traditional Bavarian leather pants, are a man’s most important piece of clothing at Oktoberfest, along with the traditional footwear, Haferlschuhe. The dirndl is the female counterpart. Pay attention guys: if the bow of her apron is worn on the left, you can flirt with her. If it’s on the right, she’s already married.

 


Photo: Picture-Alliance

 

 for Mass 

The Mass of beer measures a liter and, this year, will be sold for slightly less than eleven euros. The glass mugs are fairly heavy. In 2008, Anita Schwartz carried 19 full mugs, weighing about 45 kilograms, across one of the beer tents for 40 meters without spilling a single drop of beer..

 


Photo: iStock

 for (No) Nasty Weather  

Oktoberfest starts in September. The reason is simple: September is warmer and more pleasant, weather-wise. Usually Oktoberfest ends in the first days of October.

 


Photo: Alamy

 for Ozapft is’

On opening day, Munich’s mayor taps the first keg of beer. His talent at this is measured by the number of hammer blows he requires to pound the tap into the wooden keg. After the beer starts flowing, he calls out the traditional saying: “Ozapft is’!”—it’s tapped!

 


 for Pipeline

Since 2012, one of the large tents has had its own beer pipeline, measuring 250 meters in length. So that the beer flows to the festival tent, the tent hosts need large compressed-gas containers filled with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. 

 


Photo: Shutterstock

 for Quality  

Beer for the festival may only be brewed in Munich, and of course according to Germany’s Purity Law for beer ingredients. The percentage of alcohol is about one point above regular beer. 

 


 for Ritual  

My carnival ride sits on a trailer. Before every Oktoberfest, I kick the axle and say: “Don’t leave me in the lurch, we’re going to pull this thing off.” Apart from one incident, everything has run perfectly so far!

 



 for Safety  

TÜV SÜD auditors usually come to us on Tuesday, before things start on Saturday. We’re on good terms, and they chat about inspections in Hong Kong or the United States. It’s impressive, adding up to more than a thousand inspections per year. In the critical phase, right before Oktoberfest, there are about twenty experts here on location. Everything is thoroughly inspected. It’s a good feeling!

 


 for Tropical  

The climate at Oktoberfest is almost tropical. It’s up to ten degrees warmer there than anywhere else in Munich and the humidity is about one-third higher—primarily due to all the people.

 


 for Unusual Findings 

About three thousand items are lost and found on average— including some unusual ones: a doctor’s note certifying a patient too sick to work during the dates of Oktoberfest, for instance. A true Bavarian reported a loss of a very special sort: “I lost my old lady.” He unfortunately couldn’t be helped.

 


 for Vertical

The Ferris wheel at Oktoberfest is 50 meters tall and you have a great view of the entire city from up there. If you’re here, be sure to ride it.

 


  for Wiesn 

Oktoberfest can be traced back to a horse race, which took place on a meadow outside the city gates. It later was officially named after Princess Therese—Therese’s Meadow, or Theresienwiese in German. It was shortened to just Wiesn, or meadows, and became pa

 


 for X-treme 

My ride really isn’t. It does spin you around quite a bit, but so far only a British guy has ever puked on the ride. It looked like it was about five baked chickens and ten liters of beer. 

 


Photo: Shutterstock

 for Yangon 

I’ve heard there are four thousand imitation festivals. One of the largest foreign Oktoberfests takes place in Blumenau, Brazil. One of the most exotic locations is Yangon, Myanmar.

 


for Zero Waste

Trash generation and water consumption are continually declining, but the totals remain tremendous despite this. Electricity use is around three million kilowatt-hours, about the annual use of 1,200 households. Trash: more than 900 tons.