Visiting Oktoberfest In Munich, Germany
The Munich Oktoberfest justly claims to being the world’s largest folk festival (it’s not just about drinking beer). Over the past decade it has attracted an average of around six million visitors a year, who between them consume almost seven million liters of beer and munch their way through thousands of grilled sausages, chickens, giant pretzels and – for those really wanting to soak it all up – wild oxen.
Held annually in a meadow just outside Munich’s city, this year’s dates are Saturday September 16 – Tuesday October 3. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors can enjoy colorful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those not themselves in traditional Bavarian gear, admire those that are.
HOW DID IT START?
The original Oktoberfest in October 1810 was held in honour of the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. For five full days, the burghers of Munich were invited to eat, drink and be merry, and enjoy parades involving kettle drums and music, shooting displays and a horse race around a meadow on the edge of town. Such a good time was had by all that it was decided to stage the race (and the accompanying indulgences) every year. There has been the occasional pause in proceedings (usually at times of war), but this year will mark the 184th time Oktoberfest is held.
WHERE IS IT HELD?
The main Oktoberfest is held on the original meadow, named, in honor of Ludwig’s bride, the Theresienwiese (shortened to the “Wiesn”), a short tram ride from the centre of Munich.