Oktoberfest 2013 thus far has been a stand-out. Probably because I've had several friends visit, and I'm of the opinion that pretty much anything is more fun when you get to share your love/passion for that thing with a friend for the first time. Tonight, I shared Oktoberfest with Liz and Paul.
We started the night at the Oide Wiesn - the "Old Oktoberfest". It's a cordoned-off area at the back of the Oktoberfest grounds, behind the Schützenzelt and in front of the big ferris wheel, and is one of those things about the Wiesn that if you didn't know, you could easily miss. In fact, I probably should have included a point about the Oide Wiesn in my earlier "Oktoberfest Primer". Here's what I would have said: if you don't have a reservation, and want to be assured of a spot at a table, head out back to the Oide Wiesn. The 3 Euro entry fee ensures that the crowds are significantly smaller, and it's a good place to start your evening.
That is, if it's a year where the Oide Wiesn exists - it only comes around every 4 years.
The Oide Wiesn has quite a different feel from the rest of the tents and the carnival/ride zone, which are overflowing with merriment and rowdy drunks (not complaining - I really kind of enjoy that). It's much more... sedate. When we entered the tent, we were actually greeted by a host who showed us to a table. Nobody was standing on benches and the music was more traditional. The biggest distinguishing factor is that the tent had a dance floor in the middle, and several couples were up there executing their complex dance moves while the rest of us feasted on roast chicken, fish, and more beer. It probably fits most people's expectations of what they will find at Oktoberfest (the real thing, without fail, tends to be a huge shock to most visitors).
The Oide Wiesn would be a great place to take your parent and/or grandparents, if they're the type that you can't imagine dancing on tabletops (and trust me, you'll find many old rockin' grannies that are totally into that in the other tents). But it's also not limited to older folks - my 20-year-old intern told me that it is his favorite tent because you can actually sit down and enjoy a beer, and the dancing on a designated dance floor just works so much better...
Well, the tiredness is now starting to catch up with me, so I should probably give up on writing and instead head to bed to re-energize for another round at the 'Fest tomorrow (I know I know - breaking my own rule not to go two days in a row!)