On October 12, 1810, the townspeople of Munich came together to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
The following day, celebrations continued with various activities, including concerts, parties, balls, and even a horse race. It was so spectacular and intense that the royals of Bavaria decided to hold another event a year later. Eventually, it was agreed that Oktoberfest would become an annual event which was prolonged and moved forward into September for better weather conditions.
Oktoberfest is now the world’s largest fair with over six million people attending every year. It consists of 30 different tents across the grounds of Theresienwiese Park, each specializing in different beers, food and music.
This year Oktoberfest will mark 200 years since it first began as a royal wedding celebration. Officially Oktoberfest has only taken place 176 times due to cancellations from wars and conflicts. However, organizers still consider this to be an important year and have arranged for some special activities including extending the festival by a day at opening and closing.
Events include a historic reconstruction of the original festival using an antique Oktoberfest tent and exhibition of historical fun fair attractions. Traditional horse races will be held daily twice a day. The last time a horse race occurred was in 1938, after which it was cancelled for political reasons.
The city of Munich will also host a special tribute of its own. The Oktoberfest-Exhibition at the City Museum of Munich will showcase the history of Oktoberfest from its origins as Bavarian celebration with royal overtones to the world’s largest beer and folk festival from July 9 through the end of October. Approximately 800 artifacts are on display including those that were directly involved in the original festivities at one time or another.
Visitors can also purchase an official 200 year jubilee stein handmade by the company Rastal. It features image of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen along with the “Muenchner Kindl” (the coat of arms of Munich). The stein can be purchased from the official Oktoberfest website.
This year’s festivities will run from Friday, September 17th through Monday, October 4th. The official tapping of the first beer barrel will be celebrated on Saturday 18th at noon. Admission to the event is free.
So get ready for two weeks of thigh-slapping-om-pah-pah-merriment!
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Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.