Host Peter Inselkammer talks about the Armbrustschützenzelt

(Tent of the Crossbowmen)

On September 16th, it will be that time again: The barrel tapping ceremony at Oktoberfest. The construction of the festival tents has been ongoing since July. We asked festival tent host Peter Inselkammer a few questions about the traditional ‘Armbrustschützenzelt’ (Crossbow Shooters Tent).

It takes ten weeks to construct the Armbrustschützenzelt - two weeks later, the spectacle is over again. Some readers are sure to be surprised about this long construction time? What needs to be done?

You only have to imagine the logistical effort. Around 50 articulated lorries, four for seating alone, have to be unloaded, distributed and arranged. In addition, there are 10 containers for bar set ups, and another 24 for kitchen, decoration and the sales stands. Also, 37.000 metres of cable are laid, and 11 beer tanks with a volume of 5400 litres each are set up.

And that is only the inside of the tent. The outside must be finished first, and that also takes a long time: With the help of a girder, the foundation of the tent is laid. This is followed by the side aisles, the supporting structure and the roof. A floor has to be laid everywhere - the one for the kitchen is specially concreted, and it is re-done every year.

So, there really is a lot to do, which is why sometimes up to 80 employees are working at the same time.

What makes the ‘Armbrustschützenzelt” so special?

It is the shooting tradition of the Crossbow Shooters guild ‘Winzerer Fähndl’, which has been actively practiced at Oktoberfest since 1895. At the beginning, it was just a catering station, but now the German Championship takes place every year, on the shooting range belonging to the tent. The great significance of the ‘Armbrustschützenzelt’ today is primarily due to Richard Süßmeier, who took over as festival tent host in 1958 and made it into one of the big 14 festival tents.

So, the connection to the shooters has not been broken off, even today. Every year, the tent is opened with a joint entry. Companies and guests can rent the shooting range for even more Oktoberfest fun.

We heard that congratulations are in order as a brand new ‘Schützenkönig’ (champion shot). How did you achieve this honor?

As the festival tent host of the ‘Armbrustschützenzelt’, I am of course also an enthusiastic shooter, and so I was lucky enough to take first place in this year’s Holzadler-Königschießen [Wooden eagle champion shot competition]. This means that I am now the champion shot of the guild for a year.

What does the wooden eagle champion shot competition mean?

In the wooden eagle champion shot competition, a wood eagle is catapulted 30 metres into the air - the shooter aims and tries to hit it as cleanly as possible. After 7 or 8 rounds, the wooden pieces shot down from each shot are weighed and compared to each other. A traditional competition, which is also staged at the German Championship during Oktoberfest.

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