On Saturday, September 17th, the 183rd Oktoberfest begins on Theresienwiese, Munich’s fairgrounds. It will start like it has every year, with a large parade of horse-drawn carriages through the city transporting large quantities of beer to the Theresienwiese. Here the Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg to shouts of “O’zapft is!” and let the beer flow…
This fest is steeped in deep tradition. Although the Wiesn (what the Bavarians often call Oktoberfest) has grown in size, the organizers stay true to the values that played into the very first celebration. Only true Munich beer, defined as being brewed within the city limits, is allowed the be served. The beer must also be brewed following very strict purity laws in effect since 1516.
Over 7.2 million people visited the grounds in 2015 and consumed over 1.8 million gallons of beer. Drinking beer is not the only tradition followed in this 17 day-long fest. German food is available for mass consumption, including over 1,200 different kinds of sausages, large Pretzels (which Germans eat plain, never with mustard!), various rotisserie chicken dishes and traditional Bavarian pork shanks!
If you aren’t able to fly to Munich this year for Oktoberfest, there are plenty of copycat festivals around the world. So grab your stein and celebrate!
Photo Credit: @oktoberfestmuenchen