Oktoberfest is a place (and experience) that is generally a contradiction in terms: thousands and thousands of drunk people all crowded into a dozen beer tents (more like giant beer halls – “tent” is a really misleading term), but in a good German manner, maintaining a semblance of order and good cheer. There are very few fights, accidents, or acts of hooliganism. Well, comparatively little. And let’s be honest, most of the craziness is caused by visitors, not locals (though there is a certain brand of insufferable Bavarian that can grate on a girl - sorry, boys, but it's true!).
The thing is, there’s an unspoken code of conduct at the Wiesn, and if you generally stick to it, you’re more likely to take part in the good type of drunken party, rather than the bad type.
So here are a few tips for getting your Oktoberfest on, and having only good memories and stories to recount the next day:
- Stand on the benches, but not the tables. The Security Guards have absolutely no tolerance for people standing on tables.
- Be nice to your neighbors. Smile at them, chat in a friendly manner, Prost them, hug them and take selfies, dance with them, and if he's cute why not go ahead and give that guy a little smooch.
- Drink, get drunk, have fun, but don’t get sloppy. Seriously, I know this sounds schoolmarmish, but know where your line is. I would suggest steering clear of the the shots and sticking with beer.
- Don’t steal other people’s beers (duh).
- Tip your waitress and say thank you - she'll be much more likely to want to serve you again.
- If there is room at your table, let people join you. That’s just how it works. And by room at the table, I mean if there is any sliver of space where another human can half squeeze himself in between you and your neighbor, or maybe at least prop a foot on the end of the bench.
- If you knock over someone’s beer, apologize and buy them another one (it’s common courtesy, right?). These things happen, and a little niceness goes a long way.
I would also suggest not doing any of the following:
- Pouring a beer over someone’s head (said from experience. oops.)
- Breaking a beer over someone’s head (you know, just in case you get really crazy mad. all I can say is this would not be a good idea.)
- Making out with someone else’s girlfriend (or boyfriend.)
- Inappropriately groping girls (by now, you're going "really? really? do we we actually need to be told this?" I would have to give that an unequivocal yes, because it happens all the time.)
- Trying to dive bomb the crowd from the table (though this could actually also be really cool...)
Well! Not a bad list of tips to close out this year's Oktoberfest celebration. It went by in a flash, as it always does. Sunday is the close, and then we are on to the quiet time in Munich, when we all get to have slow weekends filled with leisurely brunches, walks in the parks and mountains, afternoons at museums, and evenings at the cinema. Hmmm sounds really nice. I might even go bake some bread or a pie or something to celebrate easing into this rare period of rest between summer beer season/Oktoberfest and the Christmas markets/ holidays/ ski season.