Oktoberfest ends with less beer drunk, but plenty of intoxicated e-scooter rides

Germany’s world-famous Oktoberfest ended on Sunday in the Bavarian city of Munich, with police saying that the beer-fueled event had passed off calmly and pleasantly — for the most part.

In their report on the 16-day-long festival, police noted a slight reduction in actionable offenses (2019: 914; 2018: 924) despite there being approximately the same number of guests as last year. Although police were called on to mediate in more cases than last year — 1,915 times as compared with 1,786 in 2018 —, they attributed this to an increased willingness to inform police early on in potential conflict situations.

The biggest challenge compared with previous years was the presence of e-scooters, the police said. Altogether 414 people were caught riding under the influence, with 254 riders losing their automobile driving licenses on the spot. The two-wheelers were banned from entering the actual festival grounds.

Munich police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins said many people saw the scooters as lifestyle products or toys, and used them accordingly.

The vehicles were introduced on German streets only in mid-June

Read more: German cities call for stricter e-scooter regulation after drunken incidents

More licenses lost

Of the 360 car drivers who were caught drunk at the wheel in the city during the festival, 215 had to give up their licenses immediately. Martins said many drivers had not realized that police were also deployed outside of the festival grounds.

Police said the number of pickpocketing offenses was greatly down on the year before, partly owing to the increased use of video surveillance. Altogether 133 pickpockets were apprehended, most of whom were caught trying to steal from jackets, as bags and rucksacks were banned on the Oktoberfest grounds, known as the “Wiesn.” Forty-nine video cameras were set up across the grounds. 

Read more: Jesus on e-scooter? No way, say Passion Play organizers

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Dancing – yes, please!

    Having a beer in a tent is a must for every Wiesn visitor. Once you’re inside, you’ll be carried away by the music and the fun. People sway and dance. The rule is quite clear: on benches yes, but not on tables. Whoever tries to dance on a table risks being ordered out. And it would be a shame if the first visit to the Oktoberfest ended like this. So better to dance one level down on the bench.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Bringing your own food – no!

    A beer tent is not a beer garden! And that’s why you are not allowed to bring your own food. Those who do are quickly thrown out. Usually there are beer gardens in front of the tents. There you can enjoy your snack without upsetting anyone.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Hendl chicken – yes, delicious!

    Anyone who drinks needs a good base. Hendl — or chicken pieces — are the perfect choice: Crispy, greasy and easy to eat with your fingers. To prevent beer mugs from slipping out of your hands after the meal, wipes are included.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Lift off – yeahaaaa!

    The Olympia Looping roller coaster serves only one purpose — fun! But wait a minute: every Oktoberfest visitor should consider the order of their Wiesn activities. Our recommendation: First roller coaster, then chicken and beer. Otherwise, centrifugal forces might have devastating effects on the stomach.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Flirting – yes, but of course!

    Bavarian traditional attire is clever. If you know how to wear it, you can clearly inform your surroundings that you are already “taken,” or that you would like to “shop around.” A bow tied to the right means: yes, I already have a partner. The loop on the left means: I would like to get to know someone.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Drinking beer – yes, most certainly!

    Drinking beer at the Wiesn is a rigorous sport-like activity, especially for the upper arms. The beer is served in liter mugs and its consumption requires some stamina. But one must drink correctly: Only grasp the handle, not the whole jug. It’s not for the weak wristed — though some revelers pictured still have some practice to do.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Drink too much beer – absolute no no!

    Getting a little tipsy is very much part of the Wiesn fun. But binge drinking is simply ugly. People who stumble over the Oktoberfest drunk and who empty their stomach contents into the crowd spoil the fun for themselves and others. Rule of thumb: only drink so much that you can still remember the Wiesn afterwards.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Peeing in public – no way, yuck!

    At some point the beer will want out again. Discouraged by the long queues in front of the public toilets, many may be tempted into taking a shortcut and urinate behind the tents. NO! You wouldn’t do that at home either, would you? If caught, you have to pay a fine of up to 100 euro. So it’s better to make your way to the next toilet in good time. There are no charges for the Wiesn toilets.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    To steal a beer mug – no, under any circumstance!

    Admittedly, it is a coveted souvenir. And some people think I’ll just take the jug with me. Every year thousands of beer mugs disappear. Not a good idea: Stealing a beer mug is theft. And that means a fine! So it’s better to buy one. It’s marked with a colorful plaque — identifying it as an honestly acquired beer mug.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Keeping a seat free – no, that’s very uncool

    A table like this in the beer tents is in great demand. The large tents have to close regularly due to overcrowding, especially on weekends — that’s how crowded they are. Nevertheless: Do not ever take a bench and keep it free for friends. Service personnel and stewards will quickly ensure that the free seats are offered to waiting patrons.

  • Do’s and don’ts at the Oktoberfest

    Photographing topless exhibitionists – no way!

    Taking pictures of ladies in a party mood is okay. It’s not okay to photograph women who at an advanced hour spontaneously take their tops off. They are called Blankzieherinnen. Stripping is not a problem — photographing is. It is assumed that the ladies won’t want their Wiesn striptease going global on the internet. What happens in the tent stays in the tent.

    Author: Anne Termèche (sbc)


Assault, sex offenses up

However, cases of criminal assault increased slightly compared with 2018, with 263 cases reported as against 256. The offenses included 32 instances involving the use of a beer stein as a weapon.

Forty-five sex offenses were reported in connection with the Oktoberfest, three more than in 2018. Police emphasized that the frequent patrols by plainclothes and uniformed officers, along with video surveillance, meant many situations that could have led to serious sex violations were stopped in time, with 29 arrests being made.

Particularly women have often complained of frequent harassment at the festival, with the large amounts of alcohol normally consumed contributing to offensive behavior on the part of male guests.

Read more: The dark side of Oktoberfest

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