Sausage, pretzels, and beer, sounds like a good birthday. Add to that multiple oompah bands, lederhosen and a trip to Austria and you have the makings of an unforgettable day.
The Wiener Wiesn-Fest is where we spent my husband Chris’ birthday. By some miracle, I stumbled upon an advert for this Oktoberfest festival in my pre-trip research and made a mental note. I had to double check the dates a few times as there was no signage or talk of it about town and not even the Tripadvisor forums had caught wind it.
The festival was running from September 22nd– October 9, 2016, and featured 700 hours of live music in three different sponsored beer tents holding between 1,400 and 3,500 people. We visited during the day when there was a good size crowd but I can imagine this place really gets rocking after dark.
In addition to the daily schedule of bands, there are nightly concerts with acts like Right Said Fred. A ticket is needed after 6:30 pm Wednesday through Saturday and prices started at €36.90.
As we walked through the gates of Wiener Wiesn we were feeling like we had left the straight-laced, white-washed city of Vienna far behind.
The only laces here were between the braids in the beer girl’s hair. Our street clothes stood out amongst the traditional Bavarian lederhosen, dirndls, plaid shirts, and alpine hats.
Around the beer tents were a village of concession stands selling baked goods, traditional costumes, spirits, and souvenirs. In addtion, there was an outdoor stage and wooden cabins that looked like Christkindlmarkt houses. The festival even had their own mascots to greet the crowd.
We started our day in the blue and white Wojnar tent from which you could see the iconic Prater Amusement Park Ferris wheel, Wiener Riesenrad, though the transparent tent roof. At 2pm on a Friday afternoon, almost every table was occupied by spirited patrons already dancing on the table benches.
As the crowd proudly waved their red and white flags to I am from Austria, we were feeling like the only ones in the beer tent who weren’t from Austria. This was a great thing! I’ve never been, but I assume the tourists outnumber locals at Oktoberfest in Munich so this was a more authentic cultural experience.
To keep it simple, all three tents had the same four beers on offer, a Radler (lemon flavor), a non-alcoholic, a dark (dunkel) and a light (Edelweiss). With tip included, two beers ended up being 20 Euros which was not cheap but at least they were large and tasty. We were most impressed with the waitresses carrying four giant liter beer steins in each hand. My wrist was strained just holding one!
Before hitting the second tent we stopped for a soft pretzel that was bigger than my head.
The second and largest tent was sponsored by Gösser and we were overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. Pretzels and ribbons hung from massive chandeliers, however, our favorite decorations were in the Wiesbauer tent which was sausage themed and had meat hanging from the chandeliers!
As our day drew to a close, the evening crowd was gathering outside the tents. I can imagine the party was rocking until late into the evening.
Oktoberfest in Munich is still on my bucket list but I am so happy we found an alternative in Austria to celebrate Chris’ special day in the wurst best way possible.
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