Everyone’s favourite drinking festival has begun. Oktoberfest, the annual celebration of German history and tradition, attracts millions worldwide to participate and join in the festivities, wherever they may be. It’s one of, if not the, largest and most popular festivals in the world; it’s been around for hundreds of years and is a very different occasion from the first recorded event.
Various bars and restaurants in Manchester participate and host their own Oktoberfest celebration, attracting an enormous number of people. You may already have tickets booked for an event near you, but if you’re in and around Manchester, we’ve handpicked a few places that may be up your street.
But first, let’s take a quick look at this popular event’s history and how it became the celebration as we now know it.
The History of Oktoberfest
The first Oktoberfest began on the 12th of October 1810 and actually started as a wedding ceremony. Crown Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria - later King Ludwig 1st - wed his beloved Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The entire population of Munich, roughly 40,000 people at the time, attended the celebrations, with horse racing forming the main event. Whilst there were no beer tents or festival rides as it’s known today, Oktoberfest was born.
Over the next ten or so years, the festival evolved slightly - bar a one-year cancellation due to the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1813 - and in 1818, booths serving food and drink were introduced.
As the years went on, more features were introduced:
- In 1885, electric lighting was first used inside the beer huts, meaning the highly flammable candles wouldn’t cause any more worry.
- In 1896, the first large beer halls were brought in to replace the existing wooden sheds, allowing more guests to enjoy the festivities.
- In 1910, the one-hundredth anniversary saw 120,000 litres of beer consumed across the festival period, a record for that time.
- In 1950, the current opening tradition was introduced, named “O’ Zapft is”. A Bavarian phrase translating to “it has been tapped”, announcing the start of the party.
- 1960 saw the end of the horse racing tradition; this would be introduced again, but only for a special anniversary celebration.
- Since 2005, in order to make the festivities more amenable for families and children, the cut-off point for music was brought forward to 6pm, and an 85-decibel limit was brought in.
- 2010 saw the two-hundredth anniversary of Oktoberfest. Horse racing and traditional clothing were brought back for the year’s festivities. Visitors were given a sense of going back in time and reliving the very first Oktoberfest celebration.
Nowadays, attendees get dressed up in traditional, Germanic Lederhosen and enjoy huge steins of beer, served alongside various food options, including pretzels, Brätwurst, sauerkraut and spit-roast chicken.
Roughly six million people visit Munich during Oktoberfest; if you don’t fancy hopping on a plane to Germany, there are plenty of spots near you where you can join in the festivities.
Let’s take a look at…
Oktoberfest in Manchester
Escape to Freight Island, 23rd-25th September
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Escape to Freight Island’s enormous Ticket Hall. Join the much-loved hot spot for a weekend of German beer, comedy, traditional German bands and incredible food.
Plus, this event is completely free! But make sure you secure your ticket before going to avoid disappointment. Enjoy steins and good times in this favoured location.
Manctoberfest - 30th September - 2nd October
If you’re interested in experiencing a slice of Germany with a Mancunian twist, this is the event for you! Listen to an assortment of live music from some incredible tribute bands, impersonating The Stone Roses, New Order, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Happy Mondays and Oasis.
If you get peckish, make sure you chow down on salty pretzels and Brätwurst and wash them down with a nice stein of German beer. What are you waiting for? Dust off your Lederhosen, and book your tickets now!
Manchester Oktoberfest - 13th-16th October
This year in Platt Fields Park, Manchester, Oktoberfest is bringing all the fun. Since 2014, they’ve been one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations in the UK, bringing in more than 10,000 guests each year.
Experience a feeling of authentic German tradition in their enormous tents. Enjoy delicious German beer, traditional food, and incredible music at this much-loved event. Plus, secure your Lederhosen or Dirndl when you purchase your tickets, with your particular piece shipped to you before the event begins. Tickets start from £5 and go all the way up to £100 for the full experience.
Bierkeller’s Oktoberfest Night Party & Day Party - 14th & 15th October
Join Bierkeller Manchester as they spin, sing and stomp the day and night away for their annual Oktoberfest celebration. This is one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the North, so make sure you book your tickets well in advance.
Enjoy an extensive range of delectable foods, including Brats, Hog Rolls, Schnitzel, Pretzels, Kraut and Wursts; with vegan and vegetarian options available, there’s something for everyone to munch on. Traditional Bavarian dress is encouraged for this event, so make sure you shop yours before the event begins.
There you have it, a few of our top Oktoberfest picks for those who are yet to book tickets. Each year, Oktoberfest celebrations are highly desired events that get filled up very quickly; what are you waiting for? Get booking now!
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