Meet Chris, who’ll be at Oktoberfest this year for his 50th visit (yes you read that right: fifty), raising a glass in the beer tents every year bar two since the age of 16.
Could this be the greatest Oktoberfest Legend ever?
Read his amazing story and decide for yourself. Prost!
I’m from the South of England near Swindon Wiltshire, and all my pals know me as Foxy.
I have been visiting the Schottenhamel beer tent since I was 16, this will be my 50th visit. I missed it twice when I was young and didn’t have enough money.
The Schottenhamel tent has always been my favourite place and over the years I made many friends there, always occupying the same table just to the left of the rear of the bandstand near the main gangway.
Over the years I have seen so many changes, not always for the better. Fundamentally the fest is now so busy on weekends and since I am considerable older, when you put those two together things are a bit of a challenge. I always time my visit to include the last evening, it’s such a special experience; the last songs and the last beer, it’s a bit like church (not meaning to disrespect church, but that’s what we call the last session: “church”).
I have to say I preferred the old Schottenhamel of my youth; still very busy but locked doors were unheard of at any time. The seating were the folding Biergarten chairs with backs, which were so much better to sit at for long periods. Only the main gangway perimeters had benches and they had backs as they do today. Standing on the tables was VERBOTEN and quite rightly so. It’s enough to stand on your chair, the table is the place for food and beer not dirty feet!
I really liked the old Brauerei Polizei, they were smart, tall, blonde and stood for no nonsense, not that there was much, there was a lot more respect. The beer tents were full of families not just lads like me, and it was not unusual to see 4 generations sitting together, from Great Grandpa to toddlers, all in their best traditional dress. It was terrific!
It becomes so unpleasant now for my wife and I in the daytime when everybody starts standing so early, this only used to happen later in the evenings. This is only an observation and not a complaint, as I never forget that at a younger age I was probably the biggest nuisance in the tent for many years! I do love to see everybody enjoying themselves.
I was always lucky as the tent became busier and the doors started to be locked, by then I was an old campaigner and my waiter friends would unofficially keep places at their table, it was like having a Stammtisch. A simple phone call or knock at the back doors and in we went.
That all changed a few years ago and caught us unaware. Without warning many of the waiters were replaced, suddenly I was a stranger in my own beer tent (subsequently I have found one survivor from the cull, but the back door trick is totally off limits now).
I eventually got in one day and went directly to the tent ticket office to make a reservation properly for the next year, but of course this didn’t work; it’s all via internet now. So I booked via their website when I got home, then had to wait until August to be told that there were no tables available. By then it was too late to apply anywhere else. I wrote and explained a bit more about myself and pleaded for help, to which they replied that they couldn’t make exceptions in spite of a copy of the Süddeutsche Zeitung all about my 40th visit.
Now I am older and slightly richer at least I can afford to go for longer so I can enjoy a few weekdays and avoid the weekends, keeping them for the city. Apart from “church” of course.
I still see my old waiter friends now and again at the festival and also have a lovey waitress friend outside at the side of the Augustiner beer tent. She always finds us a place at the drop of a hat and this is where we can always guarantee to see a few of our old German pals and ex waiters, it’s a lovely spot to catch the sun too. I hope to make many more thirsty Oktoberfest friends there this year.
In 2016 I will be in Munich from the 27th September to the 4th October.
Oh and the ladies are always asking me for a photo together. Who am I to refuse?
Are you an Oktoberfest Legend? Get featured on our site.