By: Laura Juntunen
When you imagine Oktoberfest, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the Oktoberfest beers! But, have you considered what else this folk festival has to offer? Have you questioned if there are other activities your kids would enjoy? Well, there is so much more to this beer festival than the drinks; Oktoberfest is for the whole family!
Oktoberfest has over 80 amusement park rides and a carnival full of games and attractions! These amusements are highly anticipated within the festival and make this the perfect place to bring the family!
Oktoberfest: Where the Rides and Carnival Booths Entertain the Whole Family
You have just walked into Oktoberfest for a family day at the festival. You feel butterflies in your stomach; the excitement nearly overwhelming you; nostalgia is in the air. The smell of food and beer wafts into your nose and you see the blue and white beer tents and stages filled with servers and world-class artists, ready to entertain you. But, you have arrived for something more; you are here for the amusements!
The amusements of Oktoberfest rival all other festivals around the world. The grounds are filled with rides, as well as countless carnival booths featuring traditional and lesser-known spectacles. There are fast-paced rides for the adrenaline-junkie, laughter for the comedic, and wonderment for the seeker of adventure. Let’s dive into all you can see throughout the festival.
The Amusement Park Rides & Attractions of Oktoberfest:
With 80 rides at Oktoberfest to choose from, you can be sure to find the one you are looking for. Oktoberfest features the traditional Ferris Wheel, Swinging Carousel, Distel Bumper Cars, and multiple roller coasters, the Olympia looping roller coaster being a favorite. But not to worry, there are attractions for those who do not like to take to the skies and want to stay on solid ground.
Feldl’s Teufelsrad: A Classic Cult Ride of the Festival
One of the rides that you do not want to miss is the Teufelsrad! This ride is not technologically advanced, nor is it a height- nor depth-defying feat. This is a group event, as you hop onto a platform according to an announcer’s specifications: ages 5-7, women over 18 years old, etc.
Once seated on the spinning platform, the ride begins! The stage spins in circles while you attempt to hold on to the ride, or other participants. The purpose: be the last one remaining. But watch out, a nearby lasso or flying ball on a string will attempt to break you from your place!
This ride is family-friendly and especially fun for the crowd. High energy fills the stands as people root for their favorite player and cheer as participants are spun from their seats. This entertainment can last for hours and is a great way to participate with all the locals. Language is no barrier, as laughter is universal!
The Motodrom of Oktoberfest: The Heart-Stopping Attraction
Another local’s favorite at Oktoberfest, though you cannot drive the bikes yourself, is the Motodrom! This is an attraction for the adrenaline-junkie as motorcycles ride side-ways on steep sloping walls.
The crowd sits above, looking down into the bowl. One, two, and sometimes even four motorists circle around the curved attraction, using their speed to bring them higher and higher up the walls of the structure. Will the bikers collide? Shield your eyes if you get nervous!
Jumanji: The Funhouse for All Ages
It would not be a carnival without a funhouse. Jumanji is a three-story maze of wonder! Walking through the labyrinth, you have to work your way through a jungle test, defying fear and challenging your balance as you go.
If you get lost? Band together with fellow maze travelers and help each other escape; after all, it’s a multiple-level attraction with twists and turns that will spin you silly if you are not careful! This house is fun for all ages, be sure to bring the kids in for a laugh or two. They will be sure to enjoy the exit, as you have to go down a twirling slide to find your way out.
The Carnival & Booths of Oktoberfest:
Feeling dizzy after the amusement rides? Now it’s time to take a breather, explore the festival grounds, and be entertained by the various booths at Oide Wiesn. You are sure to see the classic strongman challenge, carnival games, and souvenir stands, but have you been to see the bird whistlers yet?
Traditional Bird-Whistling Booth
Known as The Munchner Vogelpfeifer, two bird-whistling men hold the smallest stand in the festival, but it draws one of the largest crowds. Traditional bird whistling is demonstrated with laughter and plants itself into your memory for years to come. You can take part in the whistling too, by purchasing your own Vogelpfeiferl!
The Vogelpfeiferl works by pressing the tool in your mouth, just behind your teeth, using your tongue. Securing it in place, you can breathe out, making bird sounds. It can be tricky to master, but once you get the hang of it, you can whistle your way throughout the festival, creating a new tradition for your family.
Be Marilyn: Souvenir Photo Booth
Make sure to grab a memento of your time at Oktoberfest! Many festival guests dress up in the traditional wardrobe of the festival and there is no better way to capture your outfit in time than posing for your very own photoshoot.
At the “Be Marilyn” photo booth powerful winds kick up beneath you to capture the iconic look of Marilyn Monroe’s wafting dress. Be sure to hold your hands down to keep you from embarrassing yourself! The photoshoot experience is free and if you enjoy the shots, purchase them to take home!
The Gluckshafen Raffle of Oktoberfest
Finally, the booth you do not want to miss, the famous Gluckshafen Raffle! In the early years of Oktoberfest, a famine spread throughout the countryside making it difficult for the poorer people to participate in the festivities. A raffle was created in the hopes to keep these less fortunate people from being excluded.
With a small price, a raffle ticket was purchased. Some would win a profit, others a consolation prize in the form of a royal photo of the King, a bowl, or stockings. These were things that the poor people could use or appreciate. No one went home empty-handed.
The raffle has transformed over the 200 years since. Prizes have included silver and porcelain, and even jewelry pieces at times. Now, you can expect to see stuffed animals and entertaining toys, drawing in many youths to the attraction every year.
When you pull a “losing” ticket, it does not come to a true loss because someone always benefits from your donation. The Red Cross holds this raffle and the profits are given to institutions within Munich to help the community and the less fortunate.
With all the fun and entertainment at Oktoberfest, we know you will leave feeling happy and fulfilled!