Every year at the end of September the city of Munich is abuzz with excitement as the gigantic beer tents go up in preparation for the Oktoberfest, attracting millions of people from all over the world. But how and when did it all begin?
Once upon a time there was a princess called Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. As princesses do, she met a charming young prince, Ludwig I of Bavaria. For their wedding they had a splendid celebration, where they invited their citizens and hosted a horse race. The Oktoberfest was born.
208 years later, there is no horse race anymore, but the citizens of Munich have developed a strong bond to their Wies’n as they call it today.
Oktoberfest is known as the world’s largest beer festival where beer from local breweries is served in Maß glasses (that hold 1 litre of beer) in enormous beer tents. The traditional marksmen’s parades across Munich are a true spectacle, and outdoor funfairs with roller coasters are an obligatory part of it.
In 2017 the Oktoberfest attracted 6.2 million visitors from all over the world. Italy and Austria were the main countries from which visitors arrived, but people also came from other continents, especially Asia and Australia.
Many people do not realise that the Oktoberfest hosts various smaller events. You can go to the costume and riflemen’s parade, a big band open-air concert or to the tapping, where the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel of beer in the Schottenhammel tent. O’Zapft is — with this phrase following the tapping of the first barrel, the festival is officially opened.
As for the numbers, in 2017 7.7 million litres of beer were sold, 466 747 roasted chickens, referred to as Hendl and 146 oxen were eaten, not to mention the waffles and sweets you get outside of the tents.
So at the end of the day, people walk home filled with beer, chicken, cotton candy, and last but not least all the impressions of this unique festival.