The Wiesn has been canceled twice, which makes a break of almost three years. Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) needed three hits this year to tap instead of the usual two in the last few years before the Corona break. Numerical mystics may glean a lot from this, for the guests at the tapping campaign in the Schottenhamel marquee it was only clear: the mayor, no wonder, was just a little bit out of practice. All the better that the break was not extended by another year.
On this first Wiesn weekend, the sigh of relief could be heard above all from the innkeepers and the showmen. Secretly, there were fears that many people would stay away from the Oktoberfest this year, even if they had made reservations. Officially, the hosts had always said that the rush was great and that there were hardly any cancellations. But if you spoke to her in the last few days with the promise not to quote her, things looked a little different. In fact, there had been some cancellations for fear of infection – how good that the waiting list has been set up and those who have moved up are happy about free tables. It was said that many Oktoberfest visitors would like to sit in the beer garden in front of or next to the tents, but not inside.
“It was a nice start, the tents were well filled.”
The question: inside or outside? did not arise on Saturday and Sunday. Because the weather was quite rainy and very cold, the beer drinkers were drawn into the tents. They were reasonably well filled on both days, some even had to be closed temporarily due to overcrowding, and on Sunday the participants in the costume and riflemen’s procession had their seat quotas anyway. In any case, host spokesman Peter Inselkammer from the Armbrustschützenzelt was satisfied: “It was a nice start, the tents were well filled.” Outside in the beer gardens, which account for almost a quarter of the capacity of most of the tents, there was very little activity due to the bad weather, “but it’s supposed to get better on Tuesday.”
It was not only empty in the beer gardens. The large and small streets of the festival area were also quite clear, which should also be due to the weather. Rain showers and the cold of the sheep didn’t exactly invite people to freeze in rides or eat a fish sandwich outdoors.
And so Markus Strobl, spokesman for the Aicher Ambulanz Union, wasn’t talking about the rush when he said: “It was huge!” Rather, he meant a 16-year-old from Munich, who was brought to the medical station at the Wiesn around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, highly intoxicated. The young man didn’t drink that much, but it was “clearly” enough for him. “In any case, he could no longer stand alone,” said Strobl. And told that the very first person who clearly drank too much beer on this first Wiesn weekend was a 20-year-old woman from Nuremberg.
The first patient in the computer tomograph was a Frenchman
And the mobile computer tomograph (CT), which Dieter Reiter had highlighted as “the real sensation of this Wiesn” during the preview, was used right away on Saturday. Because a non-alcoholic tourist from France had an unfortunate fall and suffered head injuries, he was the first patient to be examined in the Oktoberfest CT. In the case of heavily bleeding wounds in particular, it is possible to quickly check whether there is a potentially fatal cerebral hemorrhage and whether the patient needs to be taken to an intensive care unit.
There were also injuries in the medical station itself. A 24-year-old man who was supposed to sleep off his intoxication in the rest area suddenly attacked two paramedics during treatment. For them, the service was over at around 9 p.m.: They suffered head injuries. The further balance of the first weekend: a knee injury, a fall, wound care. “It was a smooth start,” says Strobl. 311 patients were treated at the medical station. In 2019 there were already 558 on the first day of the Wiesn.
The police also speak of a “quiet Oktoberfest start”. A drug offence, the arrest of two pickpockets known throughout Europe and animal welfare and climate activists: According to the police, they used a gap when the Oktoberfest landlords moved in and just sat on the road just before the main entrance to the Oktoberfest. Six women and three men between the ages of 22 and 50 held up placards. They were, not entirely voluntarily, removed from the roadway. Overall, the police had ten fewer operations on the first day of the Wiesn than in 2019. Above all, the number of physical injuries had decreased, it said.
By 4 p.m. six oxen had been eaten
According to estimates by the festival management, a total of around 700,000 visitors came to the start of the Wiesn. That would be around 300,000 fewer than in 2019. But such an Oktoberfest without too many crowds also has its advantages. At least one can say that six oxen were eaten in the ox roasting shop by 4 p.m. On a good opening weekend with heavy crowds and good weather, it’s ten, including the evening.
Hans Spindler, head of the events department in the economic department, who you meet on Sunday afternoon at the Oidn Wiesn in front of the Tradition marquee, also speaks of a “very quiet start, but that is of course also due to the weather”.
Nevertheless, one is satisfied almost everywhere on the festival grounds. It’s nice that the Wiesn can take place again at all. And if the two failures have no more consequences than the OB needing one more shot, then everything is fine. Otherwise, the principle of hope remains for the next few days and weeks.