Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is oh so trending

As  September winds down, Oktoberfest is raring to go – and it’s a biggie. During the next couple weeks, over four million people will head over to the Theresienwiese area of Munich for the event. Beer, Dirndls, Lederhosen, amusement park rides – what more could a person possibly want?

Oktoberfest is really made for September. Almost the entire event takes place in September with just three days in October – it’s an example of German realpolitik in regards to the variable Autumn weather. The date change even preceded Russian communists having their October Revolution in November. Google Trends shows that global interest in Oktoberfest is huge too, surpassing interest in Angela Merkel by late July.

It all starts this Saturday at noon in the Schottenhamel tent when Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter taps the first keg of the event. That opens up the floodgates for the over six million liters of beer consumed during the event. And it’s not all about drinking. There is also the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade, with brass bands and the “Volk” in lederhosen marching behind the Münchner Kindl.

Are you one in million?

Oktoberfest brings in the visitors – by the million. They come from within Bavaria, throughout Germany, the entire DACH region – and about every possible corner of the globe – even a flock of Kiwis from New Zealand. The real question isn’t about them, it is about you. Will you be one of them?

Unfortunately, not everyone can make it to Munich for the event. While there are other Oktoberfest events in Germany, in the US, and Canada, they all pale in comparison to the Munich one.

So what can you do if you would like be at the Munich Oktoberfest, to soak in the festive atmosphere – and you just can’t physically do it?

Be a virtual Oktoberfest tourist

If you can’t physically be there, there is the virtual option. Simply watch the major events on German TV or on the live web cameras covering the event.

You could even have a virtual Oktoberfest party in your living room: Stock the fridge, invite friends, then link your computer to the TV. You could even put on Lederhosen.

What could possibly go wrong?

The unbearable grayness of a geo-restriction

Your party plans could get hit with a battery of “what ifs”. What happens if those privacy-crazy Germans decide to restrict international access to their sites – and limit them to just Germany.

What happens if you work in a dry, Oktoberfest–unfriendly environment that restricts office access to frivolous websites.Yes, you could encounter the grey to black nothingness of a geo-restriction leaving you with just beer, but no song and dance. Bet your friends wouldn’t like that. And you won’t either.

Filter beer, not content

Apart from Weizenbier (wheat beer), most people actually prefer filtered beer. But not so when it comes to their internet content.

As part of making an online connection, your device gives its IP address to the visited site. This tells the site your location on the globe, down to roughly a few hundred meters. If the site has a “no go” list, places where they don’t want to broadcast their content, you will get the grey-black screen of a geo-restriction notice – and no content.

Sometimes it is clear you will run into this restriction, for example when trying to stream an American football game from Europe. But many times, you can never tell 100% until showtime – and then it might be too late.

Be a virtual party person

There is a solution to this dilemma that you can tap faster than Mayor Reiter can pour a beer. Just get a VPN such as the Avira Phantom VPN which allows you to choose your virtual location and get a new IP address. The Phantom works on Android, Apple, and Windows operating systems. With this new IP address, you can open up content and virtual beers from about anywhere – even Theresienwiese.

Even better, a VPN keeps your choice of viewing content to yourself – tucked away from your network administrator or the guy sitting next to you in the café. They really don’t need to know about your huge interest in leather and push-up dirndls.

The choice is yours: Prost!

This post is also available in: German

As a PR Consultant and journalist, Frink has covered IT security issues for a number of security software firms, as well as provided reviews and insight on the beer and automotive industries (but usually not at the same time). Otherwise, he’s known for making a great bowl of popcorn and extraordinary messes in a kitchen.