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TRAVEL Q&A: Dishing on Oktoberfest

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 9:00 am in Family Travel.

Our family travel guru, Donna Airoldi from the fabulous TravelMuse site, tackles the next tourist quandary: Munich’s famous Oktoberfest, the two-week festival that celebrates beer, good food and revelry on a meadow covered in huge, elaborate tents.

Q: What week is better to visit Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany? The first week, when it is just getting kicked off? Or the second week when things are up and running? I have just started planning our trip for next year. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
– East Bay reader

Hot type A (Stock.Xchng Photos) Donna says: A friend who lived in Munich for five years, and has returned to Germany several times for Oktoberfest, has this advice to offer: In terms of the weekdays, it really doesn’t matter. But weekends are very different experiences. Opening weekend, there are two parades: The first one takes places on the Saturday that Oktoberfest opens and it is the parade of beer wagons. On Sunday, it’s the parade showing traditional styles of dress from different regions of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. She says this is amazing to see and definitely recommends it.

The second she usually stayed away. “It’s known as the Italian weekend and all of Italy, it seems, comes. You can barely get into the tents,” she says. “The final weekend, everyone tries to get in the last hurrah.”

It has become increasingly difficult to get into the tents, she adds, if you do not reserve a seat beforehand. If you do not have a reservation, get there by 9 a.m. to score a spot. Get more information on Oktoberfest, the tents, reservations and revelry online, but be aware that the German-language site has more information on it than the English version. For example, she did not see information on the parades on the English site, only the one auf Deutsch. You may want to enlist the help of a German-speaking friend to translate.
Happy travels!
– Donna

Got Oktoberfest tips to share? Click “comments” and add your thoughts. Got a family travel question of your own? E-mail it to us or add it to your comments here. Interested in previous Family Travel Q&As? Click here for Donna’s advice on …
Last minute trip ideas
Big families and small hotel rooms
Antsy children aboard airplanes.

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