Let’s be real: Oktoberfest is every frat boy’s wet dream: beer, boobs, a selection of heavy, meat–based foods, amusement rides and more beer. For three weeks of the year (two of which aren’t even in October) the usual German restraint is thrown out the window. Oktoberfest is the only time of year when it is not only socially acceptable to be black–out drunk at 10 a.m. — it’s highly encouraged.
As a native of Munich, I went to the “Wiesn” — as the Germans call the festival — all throughout high school. So when my friends abroad told me they were making the pilgrimage to my hometown, there was no question in my mind I was going, GPA and sleep be damned.
We arrive at the Oktoberfest grounds at 9 a.m. Bleary–eyed and dressed in traditional German costume, we wade our way through the swirling throng of merry–making Germans and lecherous Italian tourists. We join a line leading into one of the tents. Soon, we’re crushed into the people in front of us. One of them pretends to text while trying to snap a pic of my be–dirndled boobs.
A beefy security guard in all black stands at the entrance to the tent, eyeing the mass of people. He is St. Peter at the gates if St. Peter were looking for a reason to kick the shit out of someone. The girl next to me has a hand down the front of her boyfriend’s lederhosen. The guy next to me has vomit in his beard. He keeps swaying, bouncing off the people around him like some drunken pinball. Let me remind you it’s still only 9:30 in the morning.
Something is squawked over a headset, and the beefy security guy at the front slowly lifts the barricade. “Nur zwanzig!” he barks.
It’s every Herr for himself. Our group pushes forward, elbowing people out of the way. Finally, we are at a table. Five minutes later, a disgruntled waitress in full traditional garb plunks a tower of golden frothing steins in front of us. Each beer is two liters. We commence chugging.
Soon we are standing on the tables, singing, dancing, wasted. The rest of the day is a warm and fuzzy blur. We go on rides. We eat various kinds of wurst. We meet and almost make out with other American college students. One of us is proposed to, one of us almost starts a fight outside a public toilet. One of us gets lost.
Oktoberfest is one giant frat party, vomit and DFMOs included, except there are 14,000 people in attendance. Oktoberfest is like Disneyland, but with beer: bright colors, deep–fried food, fat American tourists and lines. Ultimately, despite the sleep deprivation and a missed quiz, experiencing Oktoberfest with my friends from Penn was worth it. Even if I only half–remember it.