Here's what you can expect at the world's biggest beer festival this year.
This weekend kicks off Germany’s Oktoberfest—the world’s biggest beer festival. Taking over Thereisienwiese fairgrounds in central Munich, it brings in beer tourists from all over the world to drink traditional German beer (very traditional German beer), snack on roast chicken and all manner of sausages and finally feel comfortable in lederhosen. And while other places around the world try to emulate what happens in Germany, there’s not anything quite like late September in Munich.
For a sense of just how big an undertaking Oktoberfest is, here’s the fest by the numbers.
(NOTE: As Oktoberfest kicks off on Saturday, these are either estimates or numbers from last year, but it should give you a good idea of what’s in store for the next few weeks.)
Years: 184. The very first Oktoberfest celebrated the wedding of Prince Ludwig in 1810. They missed a few years between then and now for wars and epidemics.
Days: 18, from September 16 to October 3. Compare that with America’s biggest beer festival, the Great American Beer Fest, which lasts just three days.
Attendees: 5.6 million. That number is from last year and, thanks to a combination of bad weather and security concerns, was actually the lowest it had been in a while. Organizers expect that number to jump this year. Because of a German holiday, Oktoberfest will be a day longer than it was last year.
Size of the grounds: 420,000 square meters. That’s the size of 78 football fields.
Beer tents: 14 big, 20 small. The largest of the large beer tents (the Hacker tent) can seat almost 7,000 people in side and another 2,350 people outside.
Beer consumed: Over 7 million liters. According to the Oktoberfest organizers, even though attendance hasn’t changed massively since 1980, beer consumption has jumped from just 3.8 million liters then to what it is today.
Cost of a liter of beer: ~$13—the exact price depends on the beer. Prices are up about 2.5 percent over last year.
Breweries involved: 6—maybe the most staggering number of all. With the massive crush of people that descend on Munich, all the beer is provided by just six local brewers: Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbrau and Lowenbrau.
Bathrooms: 980 toilets and over half a mile of urinals. Still doesn’t sound like enough.
Passports lost: 580. Chances you might remember where you dropped it within the flood of people and beer: slim. But hey, there are worse places to be stuck. Prost!