Eins, Zwei, Drei…Oktoberfest!

Photo by sonyaseattle via [Flickr]

Each year the summer ends and the days get colder, which always depresses me. But, the Fremont Oktoberfest allows me to welcome fall with a beer-induced, weekend-long haze. What better way to transition?

Voted top 10 Oktoberfests in the world by USA Today, this weekend’s festival will be held Friday through Sunday and will include a 5K run, street scramble, dog contest, chainsaw pumpkin carving contest, performances by local bands (The Hands, The Saturday Nights, The Maldives), kids area and more than 70 beers in three beer gardens. It will be at a different location than last year. Look for the beer tents down on the canal waterfront–Canal Street between Phinney Ave. North and 1st Ave NW–instead of the usual location underneath the Aurora Bridge.

I know all of you are wondering why Oktoberfest is held in September … Historically, in old Germany, the brewing season began with the fall harvest of barley and hops, and any beer left at harvest time had to be consumed before the new beer arrived. Therefore, September was designated as the time to drink-up all of last season’s beer. It is officially celebrated each year in Munich, Germany during the last of September through first week in October. A few more Oktoberfest facts for you:

  • In 1881, booths began selling bratwurst, and glass mugs were first used in 1892.
  • In 1910, Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday–120,000 liters of beer were poured
  • The largest tent at the celebration in Munich is the Hofbrau-Festhalle, which holds 10,000 people.
  • Since its beginning, Oktoberfest has been canceled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies.
  • Thirty percent of the year’s production of beer by Munich breweries will be consumed in the two weeks of Oktoberfest.
  • 12,000 people are employed at Oktoberfest. Of these, 1,600 are waitresses.
  • The six Oktoberfest breweries, (Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrauhaus, Lowenbrau) sold 6 million mugs of beer in 2005 (5.5 million in 2004).
  • Approximately 4,000 items have been lost at the festival, among them, 260 pairs of glasses, 200 mobile phones, a wedding ring and two crutch

And here are my personal tips I’ve learned in years past:

  • Purchase advance tickets at a neighborhood location near you and beat the lines of people waiting to purchase their admission at the door.
  • Buy the Twice the Tastes special–five more dollars and twice the tokens.
  • Plan on grabbing dinner beforehand. The food offered in the beer gardens is limited. Think curly fries and hot dogs.
  • Stand in the bathroom lines WAY before you actually have to go to the bathroom.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for beer tokens dropped by unsuspecting people! Last year I collected at least five more tokens that were lying on the ground or near the tables of beer.
  • If you’re only there to get hammered, get more bang for your buck. Find out which beer has the highest alcohol content, then keep going back!
  • Make sure you don’t turn into a bierleichen underneath all those bierzelts!

1 Comment so far

  1. Tony B. (unregistered) on September 19th, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

    Here’s my two cents (I’ve been going annually since 2000). If you go on Saturday go during the day to beat the lines. If you go too late you stand in line for a long time to get beer, it’s also usually very, very crowded. The festival is also open on Friday and Sunday. If you like dogs go on Sunday, that’s the dog day and City Dog magazine is putting on a cover dog search. Sunday is my favorite day to go now. We went last year with our bullmastiff puppy and had a lot of fun. We plan on entering him in the contest this year. If your there cheer for us, we are the owners of Manny the Dog (we named him after Manny’s Pale Ale our favorite beer).

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