The 184th Oktoberfest has started! Don’t worry if you missed the first day (it opened on the 16th September) as it will go on until the 3rd October. So you’ve still got plenty of time to book a flight to Munich and take part in the world’s largest beer festival.
Oh, and don’t worry too much about the beer running out. The organisers estimate they’ll shift six million litres by the time the event ends.
And it’s not just beer that will get shifted. You can add in a mind boggling 95,000 litres of wine and 42,000 litres of sparkling wine, as well as half a million chickens, 280,000 sausages, 75,000 pork shanks, 44,000 kilograms of fish, 116 oxen and 57 calves. It looks as if they don’t count vegetarian meals but, heh, it’s a beer fest. And the waiting staff will need their protein, as they will regularly carry up to twelve litres of beer at a time, in mugs known as a Maß.
The original and the first, Munich’s beer festival is now copied the world over. There’s even one being held later this month in London; in Millwall Park in fact. Not quite Munich but then each litre of beer there will cost you around £9.62 this year. That eye watering price hasn’t put people off going, an estimated seven million people will pass through the gates, squeezing into 14 large tents (which each hold up to 11,000 people) and 21 “small” tents that hold around 2,000.
The festival goes back to 1810, when the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Clearly, it was some wedding as the public celebrations went on for five days and were so popular they have been repeated every October ever since. (And you thought the last wedding you went to was a good one?)
In the early days, those attending the festivals wore the traditional Bavarian footwear called ‘Haferlschuhs’ but luckily for today’s beerfest goers, Adidas has rushed out a new trainer that fits with a traditional outfit. More importantly, it is also beer and vomit-proof. And this being Germany, there is also a ‘municipal cleaning hotline for residents’.
But don’t let all that put you off going. Prost.