The world’s biggest Volksfest has started. On last Saturday at noon sharp, the Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first barrel of beer to mark the beginning of the 2016 Oktoberfest. It also marks an important time for entrepreneurs, since people in Munich also like to seal business deals over a Maß (liter) of beer and some Grilllhendl (grilled chicken). What to keep in mind during a visit? Here are seven tips to make sure that everything goes smoothly during business appointments at the Oktoberfest.
1. Backpacks and large bags will not be allowed inside
A lot of discussion has gone on in the last few weeks about the security situation at the Oktoberfest. The fence that has been erected around the Theresienwiese as a result is a major topic of conversation in the city. For the first time, it will only be possible to enter the Oktoberfest through designated entrances.
People with backpacks will not be allowed through the security checks at the entrances. Bags will only be allowed with a capacity of 3 liters or less and may not measure more than 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm. A flyer from the City of Munich explains the most important rules.
2. Make sure to eat some food as well
Oktoberfest beer is exceptionally smooth, sweet and strong. Less-experienced drinkers can quickly become weak in the knees if the beer is consumed on an empty stomach. To avoid embarrassment in front of business partners, Oktoberfest visitors should make sure to also eat a hearty meal. Food at the Oktoberfest might not be cheap, but it does include some rib-sticking dishes both with and without meat. The tasty fare at the festival is also appreciated by Munich natives. An Guadn! (bon appetit!)
3. Timing is everything
It is basic knowledge in Munich that the Oktoberfest can get quite lively on the “Italian weekend” (the weekend in the middle of the Oktoberfest). Enjoying the relaxed Munich way of life also becomes difficult on both of the other weekends and on October 3rd, the German Unity Day.
If you would prefer to have some peace and quiet to discuss business matters, it is better to plan your visit during the week. Quite a few Munich residents like to make an easy-going visit to the Oktoberfest on a Sunday morning. When the weather is sunny, it can also be quite pleasant to sit outside in one of the beer gardens. If you would like to combine a relaxed meeting with evening fun, your best bet is to arrive midday on a Friday and to stay until the evening.
4. Less is more
Even if your computer fits in the size bag that is allowed: leave it at home! Beer from a nearby bench mate has been known to slosh onto the table, or an inebriated individual might land on the bench itself. You should also not expect an industrial demeanor to be too enthusiastically received. In short, it is better to take care of things with your smartphone or a pen and paper.
5. Bag it
Plastic bags have been getting a bad rap lately. But for an Oktoberfest visit, they can prove to be a real treasure. If you bring along a jacket or sweater for the cooler evening weather and would like to keep it clean, simply put it in the bag to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
6. It’s better to be a party pooper
Even after the tents shut down at 11 p.m., the fun continues at an assortment of post-Oktoberfest parties in the city. Rumor has it that countless business relations and friendships began at parties after the fifth liter of beer was consumed. When it comes to a business appointment, however, be sure to know your limits and remember it is better to be a party pooper than a drunken mess.
7. Leave your costumes at home
Munich is a modern and international big city. Some Munich residents don the traditional garb, while others have nothing even close to it in their closet. One way or another, visitors to the city can feel at home on the Wiesn without having to wear lederhosen or a dirndl. And let’s be honest: getting to wear fluffy beer mug hats and lederhosen t-shirts is only allowed for guests from overseas.
We wish you a fun and safe time at the Oktoberfest!