Tenting at the WienerWiesn

The boisterous Bavarian rite goes Viennese in the Prater

On The Town | Margaret Childs | October 2012

For the second time, the Prater will host Dirndls and Lederhosen galore (Photo: WienerWiesn)

What better way to ring in the autumn season then by downing frothy beer in massive tumblers, and frolicking to embarrassing music in a tent filled with bosomy dirndls and well-worn Lederhosen? 

While the tradition is originally Bavarian, Vienna has adopted their own version of the Oktoberfest, or as the Bavarian natives call it, die Wiesn. From 27 September to 7 October the Kaiserwiese in the Prater is transformed into an alternative fairground of 3 Bierzelte (beer tents) with long tables full of beer, Schnitzel, pretzels and Würstl. The fest boasts 250 hours of live music, 99 concerts in all, and while the Schlager style music is not for everyone, there is something heart-warming about a hoard of drunken Wiener of all ages in Trachten, swaying and singing along to Reinhard Fendrich’s pop anthem, I am From Austria.

Last year, 150,000 guests graced the grounds of the first Wiener Wiesn. And unlike in Bavaria, it’s not all about the Bier. While Gösser is sponsoring the event, there will also be lots of wine – Wiesn, Vienna style.

This year there have been a few warm-up events to Wiener Wiesn. There was a Miss Wiener Wiesn contest, in which the contestants were not only judged on how well they strutted in a Dirndl, but also on their capabilities at decorating Lebkuchenherzen (Gingerbread Hearts), lifting beer mugs and singing karaoke to the Heidi song (Heidi –Deine Welt sind die Berge). In addition, there was the Dirndlfliegen (flying Dirndl) event at Laarbergbad at which women and men donned Dirndln and proceeded to take creative dives off the five-metre diving board. The winners received free tickets and drinks coupons for the Wiener Wiesn event itself.


Beware of having too much fun

Children are welcome, but experienced Wiesners recommend not bringing them to the events after dark, for their own safety. The three tents are open at different times: The Wiener Wiesn-Fest Stadl tent, from11:00–14:30; the Wiener Wiesn-Fest Gaudi tent, from 15:00–18:30; and Wiener Wiesn-Fest Party tent, from 19:00–23:00. As if this wasn’t enough partying, there are also the inDANNACHt events (a play on words, combining "at night" and "afterward") that take place at six locations around town. Kaktus, Magazin, Bettel-Alm, Q[Kju:], Platzhirsch and Herzerl-Alm.

Needless to say this is an event based purely on the tradition of having fun, and the fun of having traditions.

Wiener Wiesn

Through 7 Oct.

Kaiserwiese (Next to the Prater Planetarium)

2., Prater 90



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