Already at the opening on Friday afternoon you can see that the city obviously has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to partying. The Hippodrome marquee is full. And during the tapping ritual, Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) shows that he would also make a good commander. That’s what the announcers at folk festivals who lured the audience to attractions and created a good atmosphere were once called. On stage, Söder says that even in these difficult times, a little joie de vivre is needed. Applause, a flourish – then Munich’s economics officer Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) hits the tap in the spade barrel with three hits, cheered on by his party leader.
Already on the first afternoon and evening, the crowds at the Oktoberfest’s little sister are huge. The two marquees fill up quickly. And at the weekend, the people of Munich literally overrun the festival. Although this time the stalls and rides are a little further apart in order to equalize the flow of visitors, it is slow to make progress in the stall alleys. It’s hard to snag a beer in the crowd late on a Saturday afternoon. Be it in the Hippodrome, in the Festhalle Bayernland or in the Weißbiergarten: around 5 p.m. nothing goes anywhere without a reservation.
The costume density is lower than at the Oktoberfest. After two years of abstinence, it’s still going strong on the Theresienwiese again. Whether at the ATM, at the bratwurst or crêpe stands, in front of the shooting galleries or the rides and of course in front of the toilet containers: people are lining up everywhere, Corona seems to have been forgotten, people are getting up close and personal again.
In the Proseccostüberl right at the entrance, the mood is exuberant. A small group dressed up in traditional costume stands around a table and toasts with rosé prosecco. When we start talking, someone at the table pulls out her smartphone and shows a video of moving in on Friday. She was very touched, says the woman, who describes herself as a “giant Oktoberfest fan” and turns out to be a folk festival sage, so to speak: “Every dirndl is happy when it’s allowed to go out in the fresh air again.”
There is nothing to add. Stüberl landlady Laura Krafka is beaming. “We have fun, people have fun, that’s what festivals are all about,” she says. And the fact that the weather played along on the first weekend lifted Krafka’s mood and that of her guests. Her partner, Peter Bausch, who is also the head of the Munich showmen’s association, had spoken of “balm for the soul” days earlier. Because for many showmen it is the first folk festival since the outbreak of the pandemic. Bausch himself is not represented at the Spring Festival with his “Top Spin NO.1” ride. He is currently entertaining people with his oversized Hollywood swing on the Plärrer in Augsburg.
Appropriate screams screeched from the fairground rides, accompanied by the usual fairground music. The mood music sounds from the tents. Because there is no more entry at the front, a small group tries to somehow make it through the back door into the Festhalle Bayernland. Vain. In the twilight, new guests are still making their way towards the festival grounds with beer or bottles of wine in their hands, hoping for maximum fun. But for some who didn’t make it into a tent or into a beer garden, the fun is over. Disappointed, they leave again and show off their lederhosen and wash dirndls in some nearby inn.
During the week they are more likely to be lucky and: The Spring Festival lasts until May 8th. Next Saturday, April 30, the Theresienwiese will be packed again when Munich’s largest flea market takes place in addition to the folk festival.