By Pauline Horwits
ROME, Oct 3 - For all those who enjoy beer, bratwurst and "Hey Baby", Oktoberfest is calling your name.
This public festival officially begins at noon on Saturday, Sept 22, when the mayor of Munich taps the first keg and says, “O’zapft is!”, or, “the keg has been tapped!” Let the party begin!
Although it may seem that Oktoberfest is just a big party that lasts all day (which it is), for first timers, there are still a few rules you should know in advance.
Do get there early! Tents open at 10 a.m. but if you don’t get in by 9,
enjoy the great outdoors because you aren’t seeing a tent. In the off
chance there is an opening, make friends with the people around you.
They will invite you to sit at their table; beer will only be available to you when seated.
Do get out of the way of the ladies delivering the beer. They will run you over otherwise. Do tip your waitress. If you do not, they will not come back and serve you.
There are over 10,000 people waiting to get served, she will move on to the next customer.
Do learn the always popular beer hall anthem “Hey Baby,” and how to count to 10 in German. This is a frequent chant many sing. Also when toasting, make sure to maintain eye contact. It is rude not to lock eyes -- a truism in Italy too.
Don’t get caught stealing beer steins. If you decide to go with the flow and take some home, do bring a large bag with thick straps. They are very heavy and take up a lot of room. Make sure nobody is looking; it’s not that hard.
Don’t drink too much. If you are a girl, do not drink more than three, you will blackout. This is an event that you want to remember, put the fourth one down.
Don’t immediately believe the phrase everything is booked up. There are many options including the Holiday Inn Express, or, for the more adventurous, the train station or McDonalds.
Do go on rides, take pictures, walk around, and most of all enjoy the festival. It’s a unique experience and will definitely be one for the books.