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    Oktoberfest

     

    Oktoberfest is a sixteen to eighteen day beer festival. It is annually held in the city of Munich, capital of Bavaria, a southern State in Germany. It is running from late September to the first weekend of October and not during the whole month of October as many popular beliefs suggest. The main place of the festival is the Theresienwiese. Since 1950, there is a tradition festival opening: A twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 by incumbent Mayor of Munich. The Mayor than gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. The closing day of the Bavarian Oktoberfest lands on the German equivalent of Thanksgiving.

    Welcome inside the Oktoberfest tent.

    Only beer which is brewed within the city limits of Munich is allowed to be served in this festival. Upon passing this criterion, a beer is designated Oktoberfest Beer which is a registered trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers. Beer is served in Maßkrügen which are one liter beer mugs. Between 2001 and 2011, the prices steadily increased from about 6 Euros to 9 Euros.

    Woman in traditional German clothes is serving beer mugs at the Oktoberfest.

    Large quantities of beer are consumed during the festival. The peaks are around seven million liters. Visitors of the festival can enjoy a wide variety of traditional food from Southern Germany such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hook), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumblings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and the famous Weisswurst (a white sausage) served with sweet mustard. During the festival, people also happen to wear traditional Bavarian clothes (the Dirndl for the women and the Sennerhut and Lederhose for the men) and many regional bands play Bavarian brass music with traditional chants in the local idiom. Other events such as carousels, roller coasters or traditional horse races are also organized from time to time.

    Bavarian brass musicians play inside the main tent of the Oktoberfest.

    The Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair. There are more than five million people from all around the world attending it every year. It is an important part of Bavarian culture, has a long tradition and is in fact held since 1810. The tradition was only interrupted for a few years during war time and shortly afterwards. The Oktoberfest is not celebrated everywhere in Germany as popular beliefs suggest but many cities inside and even outside of Germany also held Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the Munich event.

    The biggest Oktoberfest celebration outside of Germany is in Canada. It’s the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in Ontario that attracts a fair amount of about one million visitors each year. The twin cities have a long history of German roots. Kitchener was formerly named Berlin just like the German capital. Large portions of the local population identify themselves as being of German heritage. Many people still speak German as well. Other big Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Germany are hold in Blumenau, Brazil as well as in Cincinnati, Ohio and Denver, Colorado. Currently Oktoberfest is even spreading to new geographical locations. A good example for this tendency is the Montreal Oktoberfest that takes place since 2007.

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