by Adam Palmer
When you were a kid and everyone told you that Disney World was the happiest place on Earth… they lied. They lied like your girlfriend in college that told you it didn’t mean anything.
Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany is the true Happiest Place on Earth!
Ever since I discovered the beauty of beer, I have wanted to make the pilgrimage to the promise land that is Oktoberfest. However, there were several things I was not prepared for once I arrived: First, it’s huge. Not like “Oh wow, there’s a lot of stuff here.” It’s more like “Damn it. I didn’t bring enough underwear” big. Secondly, it’s a carnival. This plus the size is like being at the Texas State Fair, but with more people, better beer and less belt buckle.
The first thing you do when you get to Oktoberfest, is head straight for the Hofbrau tent. Why? Because it fills up the quickest. It’s a sight to be seen and experienced, despite housing the highest number of tourists. We were lucky and had a friend hook us up with a beer girl that worked the Hofbrau tent and she sat us with some awesome people that knew the lay of the land. She as well explained all of the traditions and how to navigate the rest of the festival without dying or ending up in an “Oktoberfest Fails” video on YouTube.
*Standing on the table and chugging* – This seems like a good idea! When we walked in, we saw a guy get up, chug down his liter of beer and get a huge ovation for it. I thought, HELL YES! I CAN DO THAT! Then I got my liter of beer and realized, that’s a little more difficult than I previously thought. So, what happens if you have to take a break from chugging… you get booed and have food thrown at you. Protip: if you plan on getting up and chugging, drink a bit first. Everyone is too wasted to pay attention to how much beer you’re starting with.
Other tents – do them. Hofbrau makes great beer, but there are other amazing tents that will have similar atmospheres or allow you to just sit on a bench outside and relax. They will as well feature different styles of German beers outside of the standard lager and Weiss. Food – eat it. The brats are fantastic and the pretzels are huge, but the main reason you want to eat the food is to live through the day to come back and drink more beer.
The people there are the greatest (and happiest) in the world. I know that the tables are a little crazy and spaces are sparse, but do your best to sit with someone from another country. It’s like when you’re mom told you to make friends outside of your comfort zone! We happened to be there over Italian Weekend – which seemed to annoy the servers – so it was full of Italians that just wanted to work on their English. They were hilarious, happy and always willing to cheers for no apparent reason.
Lastly, if you can’t find a spot, make one. As I mentioned, Oktoberfest is the happiest place on earth! Everyone is very accommodating and is happy to have you join their tiny table to enjoy a beer with them.