Oktoberfest – Munich Beer Festival
Since time immemorial, the Germans have been known to be the greatest beer drinkers in the world. Although recent statistics show that beer consumption have slowed a little, Germans still hold the honorary record for beer consumption with average intake of 140 litres of beer per person annually. This record is being sustained by the Bavarians who are known to consume an average of 240 litres per person per annum. In Bavaria, beer is served in a mass, which is a tankard holding a litre of drink. It’s no wonder the Bavarians top the chart when it comes to beer consumption.
How Oktoberfest started: In 1810 a horse race was held on the site of the Oktoberfest to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. A few years later, the site became the location of an autumn fair and it has grown into this huge festival today.
Munich’s Oktoberfest is well-known to most people around the world. This sixteen day affair is the king of beer festivals and the largest event in the world. Some six million people visit the festival each year which translates to employment, catering needs and other amenities for visitors. Food and entertainment are very much part of the event and it’s an opportunity to savour traditional Bavarian food. Portions are huge and you’ll experience pretzels with a diameter of 15 inches and substantial serves of cooked food. My brother came back impressed and jubiliant that he had a go at the giant plate of pork knuckles with sauerkraut.
Grand entry of the Oktoberfest landlords and breweries – Sonnenstraße-Schwanthalerstraße to the Oktoberfest grounds.
The official prelude to the opening of the Oktoberfest involves a parade by about 1,000 participants, including the landlords’ families in decorated carriages, the magnificent horse-drawn drays of the Munich breweries, waitresses on decorated floats and all the beer tent bands. The parade route follows:
Max II. Denkmal, Maximilianstraße, Residenzstraße, Odeonsplatz, Kardinal-Faulhaber-Strasse, Pacellistrasse, Maximiliansplatz, Karlsplatz-Stachus, Sonnenstraße, Schwanthalerstraße, Paul-Heyse-Straße, Georg-Hirth-Platz, Kaiser-Ludwig-Platz, Festwiese
This colorful 7-kilometer long procession through the streets of the city center highlights the diversity of customs and costumes rooted in the heart of Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, other German states as well as some of the neighboring European countries. People and animals are featured in the parade and you can see regional groups in their local costumes, marching oomph pa pa bands, riflemen, thoroughbred horses, oxen, cows and goats. The breweries advertise their brand by showing off their decorated drays and floats displaying typical local traditions and historic carriages are also featured.
If your main motivation for attending the festival is to sample the range of German beers, then head for the beer tents where Munich’s largest and most traditional breweries cordially invite you to join the festivities and drink beer by the litre. Good Luck!