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This page is continuously updating as we find new things. Check back often from August - October.
Oktoberfest...Wiesn then and now
Oktoberfest is the most recognized of Germany's festivals and lauded as the World's Largest Folk Fest...6.8M attendees in 2019 But its early history is much simpler. Originally, it was the "city fair" for Munich, capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria, which was not "a part of Germany," nor even considered itself Germanic...it was Bavaria...Land der Bayern. Today, Bavaria is Germany's largest state and is akin to Texas in the United States with its own uniquely Bavarian culture, language, and lifestyle.
On October 12, 1810, Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria (grandfather of Ludwig II aka the "Mad King") married Princess Theresa in their own version of a "Charles and Diana" Wedding. "Everyone" was invited and the once local "fair" was taken over for the Royal Event. Maximillian I, King of Bavaria, issued royal charters to 6 of the local breweries to produce beer for the wedding party. Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Loewenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, Hofbräu-München remain today the only breweries sanctioned to produce the official Oktoberfestbier. The festival area outside the city gates was renamed the Theresienwiese in honor of Princess Theresa, but locals now just call it d'Wiesn.
In the early 1900s, it was moved two weeks earlier, so now the official Oktoberfest in Munich starts on the third weekend in September and ends on the first Sunday in October.
Our NorCal Oktoberfest List 2021
Oktoberfest Celebrations come in many sizes, types, and levels of authenticity. We've been to most and are adding to the list each year. Here are our top picks for 2021. Always check the website first or call ahead, since offerings change and covid-19 is still affecting things. Stay Safe.
Our rating system is 1-5 with 5 being the highest. We focus on 5 Primary Fest Factors: Band/Music - Beer/Food - Traditionality - Gemütlichkeit
The band/music can make or break any Fest since their job is to give the Fest its spirit and tempo. A lackluster band makes for a lackluster Fest.
Food/Beer needs to pair well together and meet the venue and the participants. It's more than brats and bubbles...is it Bavarian?
Fests are a traditional event from people sharing tables, to wearing Tracht (Lederhosen & Dirndl), to showing a sense of Good Nature.
Gemütlichkeit is a uniquely Bavarian sense of welcomeness, community, being together, not just a bunch of people in the same space.
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