What is Oktoberfest? It's a pretty huge hot-mess i.e. The world's largest beer festival. Yep, a festival to celebrate German beer's awesomeness:-)
When did this tradition start? The main story given is that in 1810, Crown prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. All the citizens of Munich were invited to the festivities at what is now known as Theresienwiese (the current grounds of Oktoberfest.) People had so much fun that this became a tradition.
Where does it happen? While a few German cities have their own version of Oktoberfest - Munich is the original and most amazing Oktoberfest.
How long does it last and when does it start/end? It lasts at least 16 days and usually starts mid September
Do they charge to go for Oktoberfest? Nope, as long as you can fight your way into a tent you are fine. You won't really have to fight every day - only during peak days - opening days, closing days etc.
If I can't go for the full duration, what part(s) should I go for? Definitely the first day - the opening ceremony, the crazy energy, the interesting traditions e.g. The mayor tapping the first barrel at noon and crying out "O'Zapft!"/"Oktoberfest has started" is simply something you must see. Singing old german drinking songs using the "hymn" books on the tables is also beyond amazing. If you can't make it for the opening ceremony, then at least make it for the last days of the ceremony and definitely the closing ceremony. When else would you get to light candles with a room-full of drunken people from all over the world, hold hands, hug like siblings - all the while singing Michael Jackson's "Heal the world."? When?
Why didn't the waitress give me back my change? She took the rest as a tip - you're welcome! A Maß of beer costs 9.10 Euros, but it is an unwritten rule that you just give 10 Euros. You just try and ask for change back - let me know if you manage to get served again.
How do those servers carry 13 beers at a go? Beats me. I think there must be a class or something. "How to carry 13 gigantic beer glasses at a go, through crowds of crazy, drunken staggering people and not spill a drop."
Uh, oh. I'm drunk. I think I might be drinking someone else's beer: No need to worry. Someone else is likely drinking your beer too. After 4 liters of beer the last thing you should be worrying about is catching a cold from sharing someone's glass.
Which is the coolest tent to be in? Hands down, I have to say it is Hacker Pschorr. Lots of Bavarians go there - so it's the fun place to be with lots of young locals and not too many tourists. Not that there is anything wrong with tourists, but why would you go to Oktoberfest in Munich to hang out with Aussies and Americans. I love all my people, but while in Rome...do a Roman;-)
For all other questions refer to - http://www.oktoberfest-insider.com/oktoberfest-faq.htm