MUNICH—After multiple cancellations amidst the first years of the pandemic, Bürgermeister Dieter Reiter opened the 187th Oktoberfest on Saturday with the exclamation “O’zapft is” (“it’s tapped”) after tapping the first keg with three knocks of a mallet.
The opening was heralded by a 12-gun salute and, as tradition demands, the Bürgermeister handed the first Maß – literally a measure but also a liter – of beer to Bavarian Ministerpräsident Markus Söder.
Prior to this year, the most recent Oktoberfest took place in 2019.
On Sunday, some 9,000 people – almost all wearing Trachten, traditional clothing that originated in the Alpine regions of Austria and Bavaria that include Lederhosen for men and Dirndl for women, marched in the Trachten- und Schützenzug parade from the Maximilianstraße in the City Center to the Theresienwiese, the site of the Oktoberfest.
The procession was led by the Münchner Kindl, the symbol of the city. The procession continued with the Bürgermeister followed by horse-drawn carriages and floats from the city’s brewers whose wares are available at the Theresienwiese, also referred to as the Wies’n.
On Saturday, attendees lined up for several hours prior to the 9 a.m. opening of the Wies’n, and over a million visitors are expected to partake in the festivities.
The Wies’n is replete with rides and attractions. They are operated by six breweries, Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu, and Staatliches Höfbräu-München. Traditional Bavarian music is performed by bands hired by the individual breweries.
Only the six breweries make Oktoberfest beer, which is also available throughout the city and for export. The cost of a Maß this year is expected to be €12.60 to €13.80, an average 16% increase over the price sin 2019. Only beer made within the city limits and conforming to the Reinheitsgebot or Purity Law of 1516 can be served at the Oktoberfest.
The world famous event, which celebrates Bavarian beer and culture, will continue until October 3.
The city of Munich expects over six million visitors during Oktoberfest. Meanwhile, tents will serve nearly seven million Maß of beer to attendees, many dressed in traditional Bavarian Trachten.
Oktoberfest has its origins with the celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. To take advantage of better weather, the festival now starts in September and continues into the first week in October.
As always, visitors will enjoy a selection of traditional Bavarian food including Hendl (chicken), Würstl (sausages), Brezn (pretzels), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Knödel (dumpling), and specialties including Obatzda (a spiced cheese spread) and Weißwurst (veal sausage).
Oktoberfest takes place at the Theresienwiese, which is easily accessible by the U-Bahn (metro) U-4 or U-5 directly to the Wies’n, via the U-3 or U-6 to Goetheplatz or Poccisstraße, which is a ten-minute walk to the Wies’n, or via any S-Bahn (surface rail) to the Hackerbrücke stop, which is also a ten-minute walk from the festivities.
Christian Stampfer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)