Is there anything better than the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany? As someone who went last year (and was supposed to go this year if his stupid friend hadn't married his very lovely girlfriend and then gotten her pregnant), this reporter can confidently that no, there is no event on this planet more fun.
Oktoberfest is a three week-long celebration of Bavarian culture that delights around five million people each year -- making it the world's largest fair. During the fest, revelers consume upwards of 7 million liters of beer, all of it made by Munich's famous local breweries, as well as more than 100,000 sausages, gingerbread cookies, roast chickens and all sorts of other delicious German cuisines.
Most of Oktoberfest takes place at the tents -- which are enormous wigwam like buildings all sitting next to one another on the huge fairgrounds. There are 14 tents in all, some of which hold up to 10,000 people.
Each of the Munich beer houses -- Pauliner, Hofbrau, Augustiner, Spatan and Hacker -- has it’s own tent, and each one is elaborately decorated, filled to the brim with locals and visitors, while German Um-pah bands play all day and night.
The 14 tents take up about a third of the whole event. The rest is like a giant carnival. There are shooting galleries and dart games, snack stands, and a bunch of crazy rides, including three or four roller coasters. There are also about seven haunted house rides. Germans must really love haunted houses.
Oktoberfest 2011 runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, the most important days being each of the three weekends. The festival opens when Munich Mayor Christian Ude taps the first keg at the Spaten tent, and gives a big prost to the world.