Are Oktoberfest Tents Permanent? A Statistical Review Of Oktoberfest Construction

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When you visit Oktoberfest, walk around, and witness the carefully constructed tents, everything looks permanent. However, despite the impressive details that go into the construction of the Oktoberfest environment, everything has to be dismantled and rebuilt annually. This is one example of the many organizational feats required to produce such a famous festival.

Treating the wooden structures of the Oktoberfest Munich tents like giant Lego pieces, they are taken apart and stored somewhere near Munich to be reassembled next year. Dismantling starts right after the last day of Oktoberfest. The process takes around five weeks, and the Theresienwiese ground is cleared by mid-November. The dismantling process requires the same amount of workforce as the construction but takes about half the time.

The Deadlines for Dismantling the Oktoberfest Construction

A fixed schedule must be followed to dismantle the Oktoberfest construction each year. Most crossing areas at Theresienwiese are temporarily closed during the process and open as early as November 2nd.  Here are the details of the deadlines assigned to each Oktoberfest sector:

  • Pole sites must be vacated by October 5.
  • The other businesses owned by the festival will leave by October 6.
  • Coffee tents, chicken fryers, sausage and snack halls, and elevated rides will leave the Wiesn by October 13.
  • Beer tents and other large-scale catering businesses at the Oktoberfest must vacate the site by November 10. Those in the Tollwood Winter Festival area must be dismantled by October 31. This also applies to businesses at the Oide Wiesn.

Until the mentioned dates, caravans, pack-and-machine trucks, and other motor vehicles must clear the fairground. Even the concrete floors built mostly for washrooms must be dismantled along with the basins. All the holes and pits for waste disposal must also be cleared to make the site safe for upcoming events. For waste disposal during the festival’s dismantling, Munich’s commercial and construction site waste disposal laws must be followed.

How Much Construction Goes into Setting up the Non-Permanent Oktoberfest Site?

The construction of the Oktoberfest tents starts mainly in July. The process takes around 70 days, and during this period, the Wiesn is converted into the most significant construction site in Munich. The construction is divided into multiple phases to avoid congestion, blocking, and inefficiencies. Due to their size and the workflow required, the big tents are started first. Usually, about 3000 workers work on 600 locations at the Theresienwiese for Oktoberfest construction. 

Fun Fact: Did you know Albert Einstein was also a part of the Oktoberfest construction? In 1896, Oktoberfest got its first glow as the renowned Einstein & Cie company provided electric lighting to the festival. A young 17 years old boy named Albert was responsible for screwing light bulbs into the sockets at the Schottenhamel festival tent under the supervision of his father, Hermann Einstein

As Albert illuminated Oktoberfest, no one was aware that this boy would one day illuminate the world with his ideas and theories.

Let’s look at some stats to understand Oktoberfest construction better.

Loads of Work Done for a Temporary Convenience of Six Million People

Oktoberfest construction is given a 10-week period every year. Each tent requires a large amount of materials to set up. Approximately 800 truckloads are brought in to construct each tent, and 35,000 square meters of flooring are laid to create enough space for visitors to move freely. 13.5 kilometers of cable were laid to power the event, allowing visitors to stay connected and enjoy all the festivities. Around 270 meters of gas and 370 meters of water pipes are laid for the uninterrupted preparation of food and drinks. Here’s an orderly flow of how things are scheduled each year:

July 10 Large Oktoberfest Tents
July 31 Large Tents at the Oide Wiesn i.e. Festzelt Tradition and Herzkasperlzelt
August 14 Small Oktoberfest tents
August 23 Roller coasters, Ferris wheels, water rides
August 30 Bumper cars, ghost trains, flat rides, other attractions
September 4 All other showmen businesses
September 7 Food and Souvenir Stalls
September 8 Stalls at the pillars
September 13 Bread stalls

Oktoberfest 2023 started just three days after the preparations were completed and hosted a mammoth 7.2 million people in 18 days, the largest Oktoberfest attendance of all time. 

Conclusion: Is It Worth Setting Up a Non-Permanent Oktoberfest Site?

An impressive Oktoberfest site is set up after 10 months of constant construction, usage of heavy machinery, and hard work from a massive workforce of over 3000. Is all this work worth just 16-18 days of beer drinking and entertainment? While the effort seems enormous for such a short output period, it helps many small and large businesses end their financial year with an acceptable profit. From carnival rides and food stalls to the hotels and beer tents, everyone benefits from the Wiesn. The world’s largest beer fest is a multi-billion business that generates around €1.25 Billion, contributing around 2% to Munich’s GDP. Oktoberfest has become so successful that it has been copied worldwide, cementing its position as a traditional and enduring product.

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