Munich, Germany is gearing up for the largest celebration in the world, known as Oktoberfest. This years Oktoberfest celebration will takes place from Saturday, September 22 to October 7, 2007.
On September 22 there will be an opening ceremony. The Lord Mayor of Munich has the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. After the barrel has been tapped, visitors are allowed to quench their thirst. The main highlight of the festival is the Oktoberfest Costume and Rifleman’s Parade. The parade is always on the first Wiesn Sunday, which in on September 19 this year.
Oktoberfest originated in 1810 as a a wedding celebration for Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig, and Princess Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the happy royal event. Horse races were a big part of the first Oktoberfest celebration. The horse races were so popular that they had a repeat performance the following year. In 1811 an agricultural show was added to boost agriculture and celebrate the harvest time. Oktoberfest became a popular annual event.
People often ask why Oktoberfest is held in September. The original celebration was held on October 12, 1810 to October 17,1810. As the years progressed, the festival was moved forward into September. Moving the festival to an earlier day allowed for better, warmer weather conditions for the open air, outdoor festival.
Beer was not featured during the first few years of the festival. Small beer stands were set up by 1818. .Today Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer drinking. Beer is a important German product and part of German life. Germans consider beer “liquid bread”.
Today, Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, with over 6 million international visitors visiting Munich to drink beer, eat sausages, listen to German brass bands and enjoy the traditional German dancers.
The horse races, which were such an important part of the early celebration, are no longer held during Oktoberfest. The agricultural show is now held in conjunction with the festival every three years. This year is a year that the Agricultural festival is being held in conjunction with Oktoberfest.
Fourteen tents are filled with music, entertainment, food and beer. Each tent is a festival itself. The largest tent is the Schottenhamel, which holds an amazing 10,000 people..
The historic Hofbrauhaus on the Platz., which has existed since 1644, is open year around. Hofbrauhaus on the Platz offers food, beer and entertainment nightly. The large building contains a beer hall on the first floor and a banquet room on the second floor. The wait staff will bring beer in steins or liters to heavy wood tables. Visitors enjoy singing and dancing every night.
The Hofbrauhaus is the most famous beer hall in Munich, but not the only beer hall. Explore the city of Munich and find some of the smaller beer halls in the area for a charming, friendly experience.
Oktoberfest is a very busy time in Munich. Contact the Tourist Office on Munich for tips on finding accommodations. It may be difficult to find a hotel room in Munich during this busy festival.
Fortunately, Munich is easily accessible by train. If you cannot find a hotel room in Munich, consider staying in a nearby city and taking the train to Munich.Oktoberfest in within walking distance from the train station. There are special rates available for train travel.