Munich’s annual Oktoberfest is arguably the largest and most well known people’s folk festival in the world. Each September millions of beer drinkers and revelers descend on the Bavarian capital city, an already popular tourist destination. They eat pretzels, they ride carnival rides, they wear Dirndl or Lederhosen and, of course, they suck down beer from a select group of Munich’s breweries like the stuff is going out of style. While there is a lot to be said about attending the world’s premiere folk festival, those looking for a more intimate experience don’t have to look to far from Munich. Dachau, located a mere twelve miles northwest of Munich, hosts its own folk festival which traditionally boasts the cheapest beer prices in Bavaria.
For many of us, Dachau comes to mind as the location of a Nazi concentration camp. But the city of roughly 45,000 is a suburb of Munich that is home to Dachau Palace, a district museum, several art galleries and museums as well as some churches worth seeing. The city was also a popular artists’ colony with painters taking up residence.
Like any good Bavarian festival, the Dachauer Volksfest has plenty of Bavarian charm with brass bands, traditional clothing, local home cooking and, of course, plenty of local beer. Franziskaner and Spaten are some of the Bavarian breweries taking part in this year’s celebration. This year, as well as last, the price for a Maß — one liter of beer — is set at €5.60. By comparison, Oktoberfest has announced that a Maß at this year’s festival will cost over €10. Remember not to eat and drink too much or you might regret it once you decide to ride the Autoscooter — the bumper cars — or the ride tellingly named G-Force. By then, the Riesenrad (the Ferris wheel) might be more your speed.
Each year, over 300,000 visitors attend the Dachauer Volksfest — a far cry from the maddening crowds in Munich. The festival includes a fireworks display on Thursday, a biannual children’s parade — to be held this year on the opening Sunday — as well as special opening day festivities.
The Dachauer Volksfest is at the top of My Must See List. Not just because it offers a way to experience a fantastic local festival, but also because I’ve got the festival in my sights for my Bavarian trip this summer.
This year’s Dachauer Volksfest runs from August 8th through August 17th. Visitors located in Munich can take a roughly 20 minute ride on the S2 and then walk about 10 minutes from the station to the festival grounds.
Photo from the Dachau website.