U.S. To Oktoberfest Travellers: “Don’t Become A Beer Corpse”

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Man down.

The U.S/ Consulate in Munich has issued advice for Americans hitting Oktoberfest this year -- have a blast but don't turn into a "beer corpse."

And don't smash any fellow partiers in the head with your beer stein – it’s just not allowed.

"Hitting someone with a beer mug is an 'assault with a deadly weapon' and usually results in prison time," says a guide to a ‘safe and fun’ Oktoberfest from the American consulate in Munich.

The term “beer corpse” is a translation from the German word "Bierleichen." And the U.S. advises that thieves and pickpockets are "always on the lookout" for those who have had too much to drink and are vulnerable. With that in mind, the tips also caution against sleeping in a park if you can't make it all the way home. 

One way to prevent becoming easy prey, the consulate says, is to remember that German beer is much stronger than American brews, especially when served in a traditional litre glass (which, the guide reminds Americans, shouldn't be stolen from festival premises). That's the same alcohol content as four 12-ounce American beers. 

The wildly popular annual Oktoberfest, on now through 3OCT in Munich, is expected to draw more than 6 million visitors. 

Some of the consulate's suggestions in its "Tips for a Fun & Safe Oktoberfest 2016" are traveller common sense -- keep a close eye on valuables and know your way back to lodgings -- while others are particular to the German festivities. 

Wearing tracht, or traditional Bavarian dress, is not only highly encouraged, according to the guide, but also practical. Traditional dirndls -- dresses with full skirts and waistbands common to Oktoberfest -- can serve double-duty to keep valuables tucked away from sight in their "hidden pockets." 

"In the beer tents, you are allowed to stand on the benches and sing all you want. Join in the singing!" the guide says. "However, dancing on the tables is not allowed."

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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