Having lived in the Bavarian capital for a number of years now & experienced the yearly Oktoberfest celebrations at first hand on a number of occasions I thought it was time to dust the camera down & venture into town for the pre Oktoberfest costume parade. It was a grand day out.

I‘m not a great fan of getting up early but I was determined to visit the parade this year & as the weather prognose seemed to be looking good I awoke at 7:00am & at around 8:00am was on my way to the railway station to take the 7 stop ride to Marienplatz. I was surprised how little was going on, probably many were still feeling the effect of too much alcohol from the previous evening. I made my way to the Bavarian State Opera at the head of Maximilianstrasse & couldn’t believe my luck, there were still a number of free spaces. A head on perspective with the Bavarian State Parliaments building at the far end was my first preference.

Tradition folklore clubs come from all over the world to take part in the Oktoberfest parade.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

“Perfect weather for a parade, sunny but with the odd cloud here & there to cool the spectators & of course the partly overdressed participants, good light & a perfect place in the crowd to get those shots I wanted.”

Just before the parade started, the sun came through the light cloud cover. I was a little worried as this makes it difficult to control the exposure with black shadow areas & blown highlights but as it turned out the cloud coverage was just enough to dampen the suns strength a little.

Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s newly reelected Minister President.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

The Lord Mayor of Munich Christian Ude accompanied by his wife.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

At 10:00am the parade lead by the Police on motorcycles with flashing blue light rolled into action. The procession is lead by the Münchner Kindl (Munich Child), this year presented by Maria Newrzella. The atmosphere was good, everyone in a good mood & enjoying the first part of the procession with a drive by with BMW, Audi & Mercedes vehicles with some very pretty girls waving to the crowds as they passed. Soon after, a carriage carrying the city mayor Christian Ude and his wife passed by. Herr Ude being the Mayor was responsible for opening the Oktoberfest on the previous day. Shortly after Horst Seehofer, Bavarias newly reelected Minister president also passed by on his way to the Wies’n.

A spectacle not only reserved for human participants.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

A large tribune for paying guests in front of the National Theatre at the end of Maximilianstrasse.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

After an hour shooting numerous colourful & varied costumed people playing instruments or carrying flags etc my arms started to feel the  three kilos of camera & 70-200mm f2,8 Nikon Zoom. I had decided at home not to take a mono or tripod due to crowds but could have easily got away with using the monopod at least, too late now though. Soon the sun disappeared behind the buildings to the right side of the street making for better shooting conditions with a more diffuse light.

The Bavarians are proud of their tradition & live it to the full.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

The highlight for me at the Oktoberfest celebrations personally are always the brewery horses, powerfully built Shires adorned with lots of shiny braces, buckles and harnesses. They seem to enjoy showing their jewellery off to the crowds although it must be quite hard work for them having to pull their load through the town. When they arrive at the beer tents on the Oktoberfest grounds they become a lot of attention from the crowds, everyone wanting to be photographed next to them.

The Bräurosl (Brewery Rose) is as much a tradition as the Oktoberfest itself.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

The parade lasted just over two & a half hours with the police coming up the rear after the last row of horses rode by. Immediately after the police came the street cleaning trucks to remove the horse muck from the road before the crowds started walking about. Typical German efficiency ;-)

A Penny Farthing, long time since one of those traversed the Maximilianstrasse I bet.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

All in all, a very interesting experience well worth repeating next year, albeit from a different position, for example at the corner of the Theatiner church leading into Briennerstrasse. Of course this does mean getting up early again but I think I may just manage that :-)

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