Oktoberfest 200th Anniversary 1810-2010 - World's Largest Beer Festival
The very first Oktoberfest took place on October 18, 1810 in a meadow bordering the town gates of Munich, Germany. It didn't start out to be strictly a beer festival. It just blossomed that way. The original celebration bash was created during the marriage of The Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later Ludwig I.) to Princess Therese of Saxon" Sachsen-Hildburghausen". The meadow was christened later in honor of the bride "Theresienwiese" (Meadow of Therese). There were horse races, music and a celebration of food, life and beer. Lots of beer. The party lasted five days…seven for some who were unable to find their way home. The beer was tapped in simple huts. This was a special, more potent brew known as a Marzen. It was brewed in March, aged in cool cellars (lagered) and tapped in the fall. While the king, his court and attendants celebrated the reception in their comfortable tents, the commoners partied in the open air. The fact that it rained the entire time was a testament to the quality and quantity of the beer. Despite sloshing around in mud-soaked pants for days on end, the weather failed to deter the thirsty revelers or dampen their spirits…so to speak. These hearty Bavarians took the opportunity to party seriously! Today’s Oktoberfest still takes place in Munich on some of the very same grounds. The horse racing no longer takes place, although there remains a small local produce and farming exhibition. The event now takes on a more carnival atmosphere with Ferris wheels and roller coasters and a little something for everyone, but there can be no doubt as to the main attraction.
Local brewers, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Hofbrau and Paulaner produce some of the most authentic representations of the style, while Lowenbrau, Augustiner and Ayenger set up tents (Beer Halls) for their particular take on the Oktoberfest style. The Munich Oktoberfest now runs 16 days. In this time 6 million visitors consume 6 million liters of beer and 400,000 of sausages. It is the world’s largest annual public event.
This year the event runs from September 18 – October 4, 2010. If you can’t make it to Munich, you can still enjoy an Oktoberfest beer or two. And you don’t need to soak your lederhosen to get into the spirit.
Cheers! And Prost!