No, I haven’t actually taken up residence under a bench in one of the tents at Oktoberfest, living of pretzel scraps and rivers of stale beer. The security guys do a really thorough sweep after closing at 11pm.
About an hour ago they did their final sweep, and threw out whatever stragglers couldn’t get out on their own, and officially ended the festivities once and for all.
We actually only made it to the Wies’n once this year, on day one. Oliver’s sister and her husband came to visit and we all managed to crawl out of bed and get to the fairgrounds by 8am to join the growing crowd of beer enthusiasts outside the entrance of the Paulaner tent. After a miserable failure to get a table last year, we had worked out an entire strategy this year that included splitting into two groups staked out at the side and front entrances, a designated food person carrying the bag most likely to be searched by security (yours truly, with the bread knife stuck down the front of my dirndle for safe smuggling), and bold fake outs that managed to get us past a whole lot of people and positioned us forward in the crowd quite near the entrance.
The doors flew open at nine and the crowd (by then huge) surged forward and quickly grew pretty ugly as a giant round mass of people tried to squeeze through a small square opening. Humanity was quickly discarded in favor of push, jab and shove. Getting in the door felt more like popping, the pressure of the crowd propelling you forward and projecting you through. Not for the faint of heart.
Table grabbing was over in seconds. People flew in and flung themselves on tables right and left. Just as quickly as the rush began, it was over. The dust settled, revealing Oliver as hero of the hour for having secured a table right in front of the door, facing the raised band stand – putting us in perfect position to see the parade coming in and then the tent owner toasting the crowd with the first official beer of the season.
And how did my mild mannered intellectual manage this magic trick? By performing the wildly famousStunning Feats of Acrobatic Genius (SFAG), vaulting over the wall cordoning off the central seating area and landing on the table in question. All of our hard boiled eggs were cracked, the tomatoes were squashed and juicing, the bread knife and prosecco had been smuggled in and we had a table all to ourselves. It was truly amazing.
Oliver himself admitted that for a few minutes he knew what it must feel like to have super powers.
This wasn’t even tempered a few hours later, just before noon, when our friend Katzi – a Munich native – suddenly remembered that her father was best friends with a man who most likely could have secured us a table for that day – or any day of Oktoberfest if she had only asked. Seconds later that very fellow marched in, surrounded by his marching band and merry maids in dirndles, climbed to the bandstand, poured the first beer and welcomed us all into his tent.
Oh well, duly noted for next year.