Guest Post by Christine Amorose
After graduating from one of Playboy’s top party schools, I thought I’d seen the best parties of my life. After a weekend at Oktoberfest, I realized that even the craziest kegger I’d ever experienced was nothing in comparison to what’s often billed as the world’s largest party. While nothing can prepare you for the fun that awaits you, here are my tips for taking on Oktoberfest 2011:
Get in the spirit of things: Absolutely buy a dirndl or lederhosen. There are stores all over Munich offering a full range of prices and styles. Not only will you fit in with the locals, you’ll have a Halloween costume for years to come! Note to the ladies: a dirndl does remarkable things for your figure. I’m a little bummed I can’t wear mine every day.
Be prepared: If you’re in a large group, it’s probably best to reserve a table in advance. If there are only a few of you, it’s usually possible to find spare spots at a table as long as you show up early and are willing to squeeze in with strangers (don’t worry, you’ll all be best friends after a few beers).
Don’t be indecisive: There are no cans or pint glasses here: your only option is one full liter of beer in a massively heavy glass. In a feat of remarkable strength, waitresses carry up to 10 beers at once to waiting tables. Feeling a little too tipsy? Opt for a Radler, a refreshing mixture of half beer and half lemonade.
Sing along: Even if you don’t have time to brush up on your German folk classics before you come, you’ll quickly catch on. Some of the songs sound like they might be the German national anthem, others are clearly traditional bar singalongs. Don’t hesitate to ask a German-speaker to help you out with the words: they love to share this fun part of their culture!
Prost!: In Germany, cheers-ing before every sip is common. Etiquette dictates that you always clink glasses with the people next to you, so a cheers will often make its way down a table of strangers. It makes it really easy to start a conversation with the group of cute Germans next to you. A few guidelines: make eye contact with the person whose glass you’re clinking, never cross arms and say Prost! Legend holds that breaking the rules can lead to seven years of bad sex.
Don’t forget to eat: Even though all that beer can be filling, you don’t want to miss out on the delicious German folk specialties that are surrounding you. Food can get pretty expensive inside the tents, although the quality is quite high. If you feel like splurging—or those beer goggles are affecting how much you see in your wallet—don’t miss the roast chicken. The enormous pretzels and amazing bratwurst, sold inside and outside the tents, are an affordable way to soak up some of that extra beer in your stomach.
Drunk people are funny: If you decide to take it easy one day, head to the fairgrounds anyway. You’ll die of laughter watching drunk men in lederhosen attempt to impress everyone with their motor skills on the Tobaggen, or seeing girls in dirndls attempt to make it through the funhouse rotating wheel without falling down. The rides are bit expensive, but plenty of fun.
Keep smiling: One of my favorite things about Oktoberfest was the open friendliness and positive atmosphere. Even though people were ridiculously drunk, I didn’t see one fight (although they do happen occasionally). People might fall, step on your foot or knock over your beer, but no one lets it stop them from having a good time. I think that’s what makes it the best party of all.
Christine Amorose graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in journalism while having plenty of fun along the way. After spending six months in Nice, France soaking up the sun and parler-ing Francais, she’s currently deciding on her next adventure. Read more about her experiences in Europe at C’est Christine and at @camorose.