Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Anette Göttlicher

The Wiesn church service 2023

The traditional church service at the Oktoberfest

21 Sep
Marstall Festzelt
The ecumenical church service at the Oktoberfest is aimed at festival workers — but Wiesn visitors are also invited to pray for a peaceful Wiesn together.

The Wiesn church service at a glance

  • Date: first Thursday of the Wiesn
  • Time: 9:30 am
  • Venue: Marstall festival tent
  • Who is it for? Festival workers, landlords and market sellers – but open to everyone
  • Confession: Ecumenical
Pastor Sascha Ellinghaus during his sermon in the Marstall festival tent Pastor Sascha Ellinghaus during his sermon in the Marstall festival tent • Photo: Anette Göttlicher

Pastor Ellinghaus: Oktoberfest recharges people's batteries with joy of life

Pastor Sascha Ellinghaus, head of the Catholic Circus and Showmen's Chaplaincy of the German Bishops' Conference, celebrated the service in 2022 and, of course, also spoke about the past three years and what they meant, especially for the showmen and market traders:

"We feel what determined our lives before the pandemic. Today, we are learning to appreciate many things again from a different angle, and that is perhaps even a good thing, that we used to take for granted. Many, especially our showmen and women, the circus and market traders, have longed to be able to pursue their profession again. And visitors have also missed the Volksfest. The Wiesn recharges the batteries of many thousands of people with a zest for life again."

Representing the circus and showman chaplaincy of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the leader, Pastor Torsten Heinrich, wished in his greeting a peaceful Wiesn and peace for near and far, not only at the Oktoberfest.

Baptism in a Wiesn tent Baptism in a Wiesn tent • Photo: Anette Göttlicher

Four baptisms and a first communion

To be baptized in a Wiesn tent instead of in a church is something special. Four "Wiesn children" were able to experience this today in the Marstall festival tent: Josephine Nocht (2) from "Merkls Schmankerlhüttn", Lilly Schneller (15 months) from the snack bar "Fleckalm", Moritz Konrad (3 months) from the "Toboggan" and Bonnie Heinen (17 months), whose parents run a fish snack bar at the Wiesn. Their big sister Savenna Heinen (10 years) received communion for the first time today.

Prayer instead of beer at the Marstall festival tent

The Wiesn church service is a longstanding tradition at the Munich Oktoberfest. It was held for the first time in 1956 by the head of the Catholic circus and festival workers’ chaplaincy, Father Heinz Peter Schönig.

The service itself is ecumenical and is conducted by Catholic and Protestant ministers. The service is primarily aimed at Wiesn staff, and commemorates showmen, market sellers and Wiesn landlords who have passed away. The church service also offers christenings, first communions and confirmations to children of showmen. The service is publicly accessible and also caters to visitors of the Oktoberfest. Entry is, of course, free of charge. The Wiesn church service traditionally takes place on the first Thursday of the festival.

From 1956 to 2013, it was held at the hippodrome. In 2014, the service was held at Fischer Vroni. Since 2015, it has found a new home at the Marstall festival tent. There, attendees pray for a peaceful Wiesn together.