Oktoberfest 2019 Opens in Munich with Parades and Ceremony

Oktoberfest

By Christian Stampfer on 21 September 2019
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MUNICH—The first keg was tapped with the words “O’zapft is” (“it’s tapped”) accompanied by a 12-gun salute as Bürgermeister Dieter Reiter opened the 186th Oktoberfest on Saturday.  As tradition demands, the Bürgermeister handed the first Maß – literally a measure but also a liter – of beer to Bavarian Ministerpräsident Markus Söder.

The opening was preceded by a Festzug, a parade, starting in the city center, which was led by the Münchner Kindl, the symbol of the city, followed by the Bürgermeister. The procession continued with horse-drawn carriages and floats from the city’s brewers whose wares are available at the Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest is held.

Attendees lined up for several hours prior to the 9 a.m. opening and the Wies’n, as it is known, became so crowded that only those with reservations for one of the famous beer Zelte, or tents, were admitted.

The Wies’n is replete with rides and attractions.  They are operated by six breweries, Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu, and Staatliches Höfbräu-München.  Traditional Bavarian music is performed by bands hired by the individual breweries as well.

Only the six breweries make Oktoberfest beer, which is also available throughout the city and for export.  The cost of a Maß this year is expected to cost up to €11.80, a 30-cent increase over last year’s prices. Only beer made within the city limits and conforming to the Reinheitsgebot or Purity Law of 1516 can be served at the Oktoberfest.

The world famous event, which celebrates Bavarian beer and culture, will continue until October 6.

The city of Munich expects over six million visitors during Oktoberfest. Meanwhile, tents will serve nearly seven million Maß of beer to attendees, many dressed in traditional Bavarian Trachten such as Lederhosen or Dirndls.

Oktoberfest has its origins with the celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. To take advantage of better weather, the festival now starts in September and continues into the first week in October.

As always, visitors will enjoy a selection of traditional Bavarian food including Hendl (chicken), Würstl (sausages), Brezn (pretzels), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Knödel (dumpling), and specialties including Obatzda (a spiced cheese spread) and Weißwurst (veal sausage).

Oktoberfest takes place at the Theresienwiese, which is easily accessible by the U-Bahn (metro) U-4 or U-5 directly to the Wies’n, via the U-3 or U-6 to Goetheplatz or Poccisstraße, which is a ten-minute walk to the Wies’n, or via any S-Bahn (surface rail) to the Hackerbrücke stop, which is also a ten-minute walk from the festivities.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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