When and where does Oktoberfest take place? What was the first Oktoberfest and what is it like this year? What can you see at the festival besides beer and traditional snacks? The history of the holiday and curious facts – in our today’s article!

Oktoberfest is one of the most famous holidays in Germany and also the biggest folk festival in the world. It annually attracts about 6 million visitors from different parts of not only Bavaria, but the whole of Germany, as well as guests from other countries.

About 70% of visitors are residents of Bavaria, the remaining 30% are visitors from other parts of Germany and tourists from all over the world.

FACT : Oktoberfest is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest holiday in the world!

In 2022, Oktoberfest will be held in Munich from September 17 to October 3 . The holiday is traditionally held on Theresienwiese (“Therese Meadow”), in the center of Munich, not far from the Main Station. The area of ​​the meadow is about 26 hectares!

Oktoberfest is organized by the city of Munich. It allows only Munich breweries to participate in the festival, which brew a special Oktoberfestbier (Oktoberfest beer) with an alcohol content of 5.8-6.3% for the holiday.

A liter mug of beer (Mass) at Oktoberfest usually costs a little more than 10 euros (which is very expensive by German standards).

The festival was canceled two years in a row due to the pandemic. However, both in 2020 and 2021, the inhabitants of Munich did not have to be bored, since Oktoberfest was replaced by “WirtshausWiesn” – a festival of the same beer and delicious food, which took place in 50 Munich establishments (hotels, restaurants and pubs). The festival was invented by the association of taverns in Munich and large tenants of the Oktoberfest, so as not to deprive people of the long-awaited and beloved holiday.

National German cuisine, staff dressed in traditional costumes and, of course,  Oktoberfestbier – all the attributes of a real Oktoberfest were present at WirtshausWiesn, but with respect for the distance and with the adoption of all necessary security measures. 

This year the festival will be held with the usual scope. The program, the opening hours of the festival venues and everything-everything-everything Oktoberfest 2022 can be found on the official website of the event.

History of the holiday

The first Oktoberfest took place  on October 12, 1810 in honor of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-HildburghausenAll the inhabitants of Munich were invited to the celebration in honor of their marriage . In honor of the wedding on October 17, horse races were also arranged. For this reason, different sources give different dates for the first Oktoberfest (October 12 and 17). The holiday took place in the meadows, which at that time were outside the city (and now it is almost in the very center of the city), and in honor of the bride, these meadows were called Theresienwiese.

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The following year, 1811, a farmer’s fair was added to the holiday with a display and awarding of the most beautiful horses and bulls. In 1813, the holiday did not take place, since at that time Bavaria was involved in the Napoleonic Wars.

And in 1818, at the next holiday, the first carousel and swing were installed. And of course, what is typical for Bavaria – the first beer stalls. But people and this was not enough for fun.

Initially, the holiday was organized and held privately. In 1819, the organization and management of the festival was placed in the hands of the city council of Munich. It was decided that Oktoberfest would be held every year without exception.

In 1896 the owners of pubs and taverns in Munich built, together with the breweries, real beer tents and “fortresses” and installed even more various attractions.

In 1872, the Oktoberfest was extended and moved to the end of September – the beginning of October, since at this time the weather in Munich is in most cases consistently good and the daytime temperature rises to +30 °C, which increases the thirst of visitors and increases the income of the organizers of the event. However, the last Sunday of the holiday was to remain in October. This tradition has been preserved to this day.

In 1910 Oktoberfest celebrated its centenary. On this occasion, 1.2 million liters of beer were sold. In 1913, the largest tent in the history of the festival with 12,000 seats was set up – Bräurosl, now it has about 6,000 seats, the largest tent to date Hofbräu-Festhalle has about 10,000 seats.

The First and Second World Wars brought a forced break in the celebration of the “most popular holiday”. Only in 1950, the mayor of Munich, Thomas Wimmer, revived the holiday tradition, which is still maintained today.

On the first day of the holiday at exactly 12 o’clock with 12 shots into the sky and the opening of the first barrel of festive beer by the mayor of Munich with the characteristic exclamation “Ozapft is!”(translated from Bavarian, something like “Uncorked!” ) the head of the city solemnly begins the holiday.

Interesting facts :

  • about 30% of all annual production of Munich breweries is drunk during the holiday;
  • more than 12,000 people work at Oktoberfest every year, of which about 1,500 are waitresses;
  • in total, about 100,000 seats are organized for visitors to the holiday;
  • in 2019, the holiday was attended by 6.3 million  people who drank a total of 6.9 million liters of beer.

The first day of the holiday is traditionally Saturday, which is why the duration may vary slightly (on average 15 days). The holiday ends on the first Sunday in October. If it falls on October 1 or 2, then the holiday is extended until October 3

More about Oktoberfest can be found here!

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