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Attending Oktoberfest, Munich style

While studying abroad in St. Gallen, Switzerland, this writer had opportunity to attend world's largest German beer celebration

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Attending Oktoberfest, Munich style

The festival celebrates with carnival rides as well as brews.

The festival celebrates with carnival rides as well as brews.

AILA IKUSE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

The festival celebrates with carnival rides as well as brews.

AILA IKUSE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

AILA IKUSE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

The festival celebrates with carnival rides as well as brews.

AILA IKUSE, Evergreen columnist

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Nothing is more fun than riding a rollercoaster after a bier stein or two at Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Oktoberfest itself is composed of tents, food stands and, surprisingly, lots of carnival rides. There were 14 big tents, which can hold around 5,000 people each, and 21 smaller tents. There were six main breweries and they were all held to strict Bavarian tradition.

Beer made in Bavaria adheres to Bavarian Purity Requirement, one of the oldest food laws in the world. The beer can only be made from barley, hops and water, and is known to be some of the best in the world.

If you want to do Oktoberfest right, you have to book hotels and more importantly, a table, months in advance. Each brewery has its own process for booking and only groups of 8-10 can book. If you decide to go to Oktoberfest the day before like I did, keep your group small and show up early to get seats.

There are so many events and parades surrounding Oktoberfest, it’s hard to know what to do. I went on opening weekend, and once the starting gun went off and the first keg was tapped, the crowd went crazy.

AILA IKUSE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN
Traditional German food, including bratwursts, pretzels and Bavarian beer, sits at the center of most Oktoberfest meals.

I have never seen so many people in one place than I did that weekend, and I’ve been in Seattle during a Seahawks game. Most people were dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndls which made the atmosphere that much more fun.

Traditional dress, live music and street food aside, the main focus was the food and drink inside the tents. I visited a few and would have to argue Paulaner Brewery had the best beer and vibe. I ate lots of chicken and Weisswurst, a white, boiled sausage. It is made of veal and is incredibly soft and delicious, covered in sweet mustard.

The tents were all lavishly decorated, and it was worth going inside each one just to marvel at the decor. They were also filled with all kinds of people. My table had Italians to one side and local Germans to the other. There were also lots of Americans. I had been in Switzerland for a few weeks, so it was a weird experience to hear American English.

In true Oktoberfest fashion, my friends and I sat inside the tent and drank and ate for hours. Every 15 minutes the band would play “Ein Prosit,” a German drinking song, and everyone stood on the tables for and waved their beer steins.

Occasionally people would stand on the table and, to great applause, attempt to chug their entire liter of beer. More failed than succeeded, and those who failed were promptly booed.

If you ever have the chance, go to Oktoberfest. It’s the perfect excuse to kick off fall and drink great beer.

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Attending Oktoberfest, Munich style