Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München

From the tapping to the finale: Memories from Oktoberfest 2019

The best of Oktoberfest 2019: Tradition, happy people and memories

The 2019 Oktoberfest would not have been more beautiful - even if we knew there would be no Wiesn in 2020. Our author is a real Oktoberfest kid from Munich. She remembers 16 beautiful, long, funny and emotional days - with a little sadness but lots of Oktoberfest love and the hope of seeing you again at the Wiesn 2021! Some pictures and videos from 2019.

Magnificent horses and celebrities: The arrival of the Oktoberfest hosts

In 2019, it started in the early hours of September 21st, the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest. Magnificently decorated horse-drawn carriages of Munich's breweries and the Wiesnzelte met near the Sendlinger Tor, as they do every year. As for the Weather? It couldn't have been better! The mood was positively tense, a little nervous, excited, while looking forward to the event. After two and a half months of preparations, the time had finally come! Packma's! (Let's go!)

The nice thing about this prelude is: it was not a closed event. Everyone could drop by, and the cold-blooded horses stayed calm as the Mayor, the Oktoberfest hosts or the Münchner Kindl do. It's a folk festival in the truest sense of the word. That's the moment, the senior boss of the Hofbräufestzelt noticed the goose bumps on my arm due to the morning's freshness and he offered me his coat: "Girl, you're freezing!". Some extra Oktoberfest is not possible, three hours before the tapping.

O'zapft is! The tapping with Mayor Reiter in 2019 • Photo: Michael Nagy/Presseamt München

O'zapft is! The traditional tapping at the Schottenhamel tent

Of course! Tapping, and more tapping! How many strokes does he (the Mayor) need? Will he not forget "To a peaceful Wiesn!"? (Should have happened before).

With all my love for the Oktoberfest, i've never been to the tapping - at least not in the Schottenhamel tent. Nevertheless, there's something solemn and magical about the ceremony. The whole world looks on at the Schottenhamel tent, at noon on the penultimate Saturday in September. As simple and modest as the ritual is, Dieter Reiter only routinely needs a few strokes to tap the keg. As soon as it's over, the moment becomes special. Now it's time to start. Never is there a longer time at Oktoberfest than when the Mayor lifts the tap hammer and says "To a peaceful Wiesn!"

The traditional costume parade on the first Sunday

Nine thousand participants; Seven kilometers; these are part of the traditional costume display and shooting procession which always takes place on the first Sunday. Not only are the dimensions unique, but also the variety of the original costumes and the participating groups. As a child I watched the spectacle on television, and as a young adult I ignored the procession for a few years. Today, it is definitely part of the opening weekend - especially with a beautiful weather as it was on September 22, 2019. You can see for yourself!

The 2019 traditional costume parade

A thousand children take a stroll at Theresienwiese

Tuesday, September 24, 2019: The first Children's Day at the Oktoberfest. The steps of Bavaria were buzzing with enthusiasm as 1000 pre-school children in munich waited excitedly and impatiently until their photos had been taken. Then it was time to go on the merry-go-round and a stop-over in the small tents, at the invitation of the showmen and hosts. A picture, so beautiful - and in 2020, so far away.

Gallery: Best of Oktoberfest 2019

Church service at an Oktoberfest tent

A beer tent as a church, singing "Praise the Lord" instead of "Sweet Caroline" - sounds funny, but true. Every year a big church service takes place at the Oktoberfest grounds. In 2019, I was there for the first time. These quiet yet thoughtful sounds and words suit the Wiesn surprisingly well, and the stage on which the band usually plays makes a decent pulpit. In the end, even a few children were baptized including children of innkeepers and showmen. Then it got loud again in the Marstall tent, with the Bavarian anthem, performed by the large Warendorf brass band. There they were again, the goose bumps.

The brass concert at the Bavaria statue

Twenty years ago, I was not so receptive about the brass concert which holds on the Sunday halfway into the Oktoberfest. Too bad, more than half the days are gone. I once came by on my own, on a sunny Oktoberfest day as it just started - and too early for my meeting with friends. Though I was late, because I had forgotten the time, but since then I have been going there every year.

Also in 2019: On a splendid, sunny day, blue skies, and the brass instruments flashing in the sun, I saw him again, the Senior Oktoberfest host who had offered me his coat on the morning of the opening day. Today, he was swinging his baton, and my goose bumps did not come from the cold.

The brass concert in 2019 at Bavaria's steps

Ed Sheeran? Josh? About the 2019 Wiesn Hit

The Oktoberfest "hit" is a mystery: The more you want to have the ONE, the less you get it.

Sure, there are elements that increase your chances of getting the Oktoberfest earworm - a catchy chorus, good to sing along to (preferably in German) and if you can sing to someone with the intention of wooing them, it doesn't hurt either. It can't be planned nevertheless. Felix Neureuther tried it in 2019, and his "Weiterziehn" ("Moving on") was well received, but that was all. Instead, someone who was probably not up to it made it into the beer tents and onto the music sheets of the chapels. In fact, Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" did quite well in the Schottenhamel or the Bräurosl, and thousands sang blissfully: "Baby, I'm dancing in the dark, with you between my arms ...". Otherwise it was the usual suspects - Bella Ciao, Hulapalu, Sweet Caroline, and then the defending champion: Josh's "Cordula Grün".

Looking for the 2019 Oktoberfest song?

Honest finders; the absent mega celebrity and two love stories

It hard to say how many couples met at the 2019 Oktoberfest and how many couples would have liked to celebrate their first anniversary there this year.

What we do know, however, is the story of the honest person who found a bulging wallet with almost 4000 Euros in a locker at Munich's main station. An Oktoberfest waiter! You can read the whole mysterious story here.

There was this top-class celebrity who stole the show from everyone else (including Thomas Gottschalk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tim Cook) in 2019 - Barack Obama! Interesting thing is, in contrast to the first mentioned, he was not there at all!

Not forgetting the love stories, of which there are hundreds every day at the Wiesn, but whose half-life is often similar to that of a little frenzy. Two of them from 2019 have remained in my memory: The Austrian who in love with a paramedic, asked her to marry him while still in the medical room, and the Englishman who cut his knee and jumped up during the treatment and hurried to the airport to catch the Australian woman who had sent him a love message.

Sad but beautiful altogether: the Wiesn finale

The Munich culture has a very own kind of melancholy. As much as we like to celebrate, especially at the Oktoberfest, we also love to say goodbye. Unfortunately, on October 6, 2019, we didn't know that it was going to be for longer.

It was a bittersweet symphony. An hour before closing time on this last evening in the Hofbräufestzelt, there were thousands of sparklers and the visibly-moved Oktoberfest hosts on the music stage. The Wiesn waiters were around the tables, after they had brought the last beers to the guests. A mixture of gratitude, tiredness and melancholy, because the 16 days always pass by so quickly when you are in the middle of this very special world of the Oktoberfest. This is because you can't imagine what you'll be doing the next day when it's over: The Wiesn 2019.

One last toast, one last "Angel", one last time angel Aloisius turns in the tent sky above the event. And then it's time! It's over and done.

Anticipation and the very special Oktoberfest feeling

No 2020 Oktoberfest - it hurts, and it's hard. Yes, that's life; but even those who "only" like to sit together on the Theresienwiese, stroll across it, look at the colorful lights, ride the Ferris wheel and celebrate in the tents are allowed to be sad. This is because the Wiesn is neither just an event, place nor a date on the calendar, but a feeling!

Despite all the professionalism with which this festival is organized (almost) every year, and the many millions who visit, what we miss in 2020 is this feeling that everyone knows and loves about Oktoberfest. It is the big and little moments.

The magnificent orange and pink evening sky in front of which the silhouette of Bavaria stands out. The first bag of almonds on the first day of Oktoberfest. The moment when you enter a beer tent and breathe in that special scent, hear the rattling of the jugs, the buzzing thousands of conversations, the laughter and music. The good-humored subway announcer on the platform, who makes sure that the visitors can get home safely. The boys from Florida, to whom you explain why beer mugs have eyes, what a "Noagerl" is and why one does not drink it. The downpour in the evening, after which the Ferris wheel is reflected on the freshly washed asphalt. The stone jugs on the Oidn Wiesn. The Teufelsrad-Wiggerl, his unmistakable moustache and his rough but warm words. The goose bumps when the Bavarian anthem is played at the very end.

What's left is anticipation for the next Oktoberfest. I'm sure it will be beautiful (even if a few things change), because it's the attitude that remains. And so does the love.

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CORONA: THE OKTOBERFEST 2020 WILL NOT TAKE PLACE. All info