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Here is everything you need to know about Octoberfest if you are a beer lover

Oktoberfest

The Munich Oktoberfest justly lays claim to being the world’s largest folk festival (yes, 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 litres 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.

The festival, which spans just over two weeks, is held annually in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those not themselves in traditional Bavarian gear, admire those that are.

The Munich Oktoberfest justly lays claim to being the world’s largest folk festival (yes, 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 litres 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.

The festival, which spans just over two weeks, is held annually in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those not themselves in traditional Bavarian gear, admire those that are.

When does Oktoberfest take place?

Although the festival concludes in October, most of it takes place in September. This year’s dates are Saturday September 16 – Tuesday October 3.

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 honour of Ludwig’s bride, the Theresienwiese (shortened to the “Wiesn”), a short tram ride from the centre of Munich.

The grand parade

The opening day of the festival is marked by a colourful parade of carriages, floats and people in a variety of costumes winding its way through the streets of Munich. The Costume und Riflemen’s Procession takes place on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest; a week later there’s the open-air big band concert. For a full programme follow this link.

Is it really held in tents?

The structure erected to keep Ludwig and Therese out of the sun in 1810 may well have been a tent, but the vast ones used today are much more solid affairs with colourful façades, long wooden tables and benches, and frequently on more than one level. Some can hold up to 10,000 visitors.

What’s the best time to go?

General hours are 10.00am to 10.30pm (from 9am on Saturdays and Sundays). It is pretty packed at weekends; many locals prefer to pop in during the week.

Source: The Telegraph

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