MUNICH, GERMANY–Each year, beer drinkers from around the world flock to Germany to partake in the autumn-time tradition known as Oktoberfest. The festival attracts more than six million visitors annually, seeing more than seven million liters of beer poured on average. That figure seems high until you understand the marketing mishap that prevents many visitors from partaking in the event — naming it after the wrong month.
“I showed up in October, but I missed the whole damn thing. Apparently, Oktoberfest is mostly in September,” an exasperated Wilfred Garvey recounted. In 2011, Wilfred spent his life savings to travel from South Carolina to Munich for Oktoberfest, but the festival had already concluded when he got there on October 5th. “It’s like three weeks long, and only fucking three days were actually in October. I still drank a shit ton of beer, but it wasn’t the same without the whole enchilada.”
Wilfred’s experience is symptomatic of a tourism issue that has long-plagued Germany. “Every year, we have people coming in October, and they ask ‘where’s the Oktoberfest?’ and they become enraged when they realize it’s over, and I can’t blame them,” explained Munich hostel owner and operator, Gretchen Ludwig. “I didn’t know we could just change the name. It’s kind of made me lose faith in the government for not bringing this to our attention earlier. Yes, I support the name change. It’s Septemberfest or no fest at all. Or, at least something like ‘Septoberfest.'”
Thousands of Germans took to the streets on Monday, their fifth consecutive day of protest. The country has effectively been split into two factions: those who support the name change, and those who value tradition. There’s no word yet on how Chancellor Angela Merkel will respond. Regardless of the outcome, Oktoberfest 2021 has been canceled due to the ongoing unrest.