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What is Oktoberfest?

BMW Wiesn Sport Stammtisch - Oktoberfest 2013
Photo: Alexander Hassenstein

Depending on how the calender falls each given year, Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival. It originally ended on the first Sunday in October but since the first Tuesday is a national German holiday, it was extended several days.

Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany celebrating beer. And no, not just any beer is allowed into the festival. In order for beer to be sold within the festival and be officially deemed Oktoberfest beer, it has to be brewed within the city limits of Munich and be approximately 6% alcohol by volume.

While the festival is mainly a celebration of beer, there also have rides, music and traditional German fare.

Oktoberfest started as a celebration of a royal marriage in October 1810 between the Crown Prince Ludwig who later moved on to become King and Princess Therese of which the grounds are named after.A festival was held for Bavaria with horse races and has continued ever since! You may notice that the festival has been moved from October to September, this was due to the weather primarily for the sake of the horse races.

Be warned if you travel to Oktoberfest, these beers are a very high alcohol percentage! The festival celebrates beer but it is not a drinking contest so pace yourself and enjoy or the natives may call you the dreaded “bierleichen” or, beer corpse. Cheers!

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