Oktoberfest began in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. In the second year of festivities, an agricultural show was added. Since the beginnings of the festival, there have been many changes along the way with some years festivities including horse races, carnival booths, and parades. In the past 200 years, Oktoberfest has been canceled 24 due to cholera epidemics and war.
Today, it is a 16 day festival celebrated in Munich, Germany that begins in late september and goes until the first weekend in October. While there is always a large consumption of Oktoberfest beer, there are also other attractions such as amusement rides and traditional food booths.
Munich Oktoberfest Fact Check:
– Oktoberfest is the largest people’s fair in the WORLD.
– Only beer that fit the “Germany beer purity act and that are brewed in the city of Munich can be served during the Munich Oktoberfest.
– Beer is served in a MaB, which is 1.76 UK pints
– The record number of beers carried at one time is 27!
– Oktoberfest contributes about 1.1 billion Euros to the German economy
– People who have passed out due to exhaustion and dehydration from drinking beer are called Bierleichen (“Beer Corpses”)
OKTOBERFEST AROUND THE WORLD:
Oktoberfest of Blumenau, Brazil: Considered the largest Oktoberfest of the America’s, it has an attendance of about 700,000 a year. It began in 1984 and is still celebrated for 18 days each year. Also known for the National competition of Chopp in Meter Drinkers – a competition in which everyone drinks one meter of beer without removing one’s mouth from the container. The one who drinks the fastest wins.
Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: The cities claim many German roots and so continues to celebrate Oktoberfest as the World’s third largest Oktoberfest celebration. Kitchener’s original name was even Berlin at one time.
Bangalore, India: Established in 2005, The Great Indian October Fest, has a selection of German beer and Bavarian cuisine.
Hong Kong’s Marco Polo German Bierfest: The longest running German Bierfest in Asia.
The United States: The United States claims a high proportion of German ancestry and therefore has plenty of Oktoberfest celebrations around the country. Check out your local brewery or pub to see what celebrations they have for this year’s Oktoberfest! Some of the big celebrations in the US can be found in Boston, MA; Reading, PA; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; or La Crosse, WI. PS: Last year, I spent Oktoberfest working at a brewery. This year, I will be working as well — Please be nice to your bartenders this Oktoberfest!
Although I have been to Munich, I have not yet celebrated Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany… But, I can assure you that I will sometime in my life.