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Oktoberfest - Munich

Below is all the information you should ever need about the world famous Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich Germany we have included every thing from the history of the event to the price of beer!

Oktoberfest (lit. October Festival) is a two-week festival held each year in Munich (München), Bavaria, Germany, during late September and early October. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year. Other cities across the world also hold fairs, modeled after the Munich event, called Oktoberfest.

The event takes place during the 16 days before the first Sunday in October (unless the 3rd of October "Tag der deutschen Einheit" - the German national day is a Monday or Tuesday) on an area named the "Theresienwiese", often called "d' Wiesn" ("the meadow" in Bavarian dialect) for short. Beer plays a central role in the fair, with every festival beginning with a keg of beer tapped by the Mayor of Munich who declares "O'zapft is!" (Bavarian for "It's tapped!"). A special Oktoberfest beer is brewed for the occasion (see also Märzen), which is slightly darker and stronger, in both taste and alcohol. It is served in a one-liter-tankard called Maß (IPA: [mass]). Only local Munich breweries are allowed to serve this beer in a Bierzelt (beer tent) which is large enough for thousands (see below).

Only six Munich breweries are allowed to serve beer at Oktoberfest – Löwenbräu, Spaten, Augustiner, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.

Visitors also consume large quantities of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as sausage, hendl (chicken), käsespätzle (cheese noodles), and sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as roast ox tails.

The first Oktoberfest, held from October 12–October 17, 1810 in Munich, was to celebrate the occasion of the wedding of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and was ended with a horse race.

Because of its success, it was repeated annually, later also with an agricultural fair, dance, music and amusement rides. The celebration had to be cancelled 24 times due to war, disease or other problems. Horse races ended in 1960.

Ironically, the modern Oktoberfest runs mostly during the month of September. The dates were changed to take advantage of better summer weather which made the fair even more popular. Largely due to coincidence, the festival now ends on or near October 3, which became the German national holiday in the early 1990s.

Number of visitors: 6-7 million
Beer: 5.7 million litres (1.5 million gallons)
Roasted oxen: 88
Sausages: 219,443 pairs
Roast chickens: 459,279

Price of Beer
One of the biggest talking points among
citizens of Munich in the lead up to the Oktoberfest
each year is how much a litre of beer will cost.
In 2006 the official price range was between €6.95 and €7.50,
as opposed to €6.65 and €7.10 the year before. In the past price
hikes have been a contentious issue.

Theft of beer mugs
It is strictly forbidden to steal beer mugs, although they can be purchased in the tents as souvenirs. Visitors are warned to keep the receipt, because the police actively look for stolen mugs even away from the fest area. Often when police catch someone stealing a beer mug, they are fined 50 euros.

The Tents
There are currently 14 main tents at the Oktoberfest. The tents themselves are semi-permanent structures which are only occupied during the festival. The beer (or wine) served in each is in brackets after the tent name:

Hippodrom (Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu) - One of the smaller tents, it's the first tent that many visitors see at the fest. As well as serving normal Wiesn beer, it has a Sekt (sparkling wine) bar and Maß of Weißbier. Considered one of the trendiest tents, and attracts the occasional celebrity.
Seating capacity inside: 3,200
Seating capacity outside: 1,000

Armbrustschützenzelt (Paulaner) - Translates as the "Crossbow Shooters Tent", a competition that has been a part of the Oktoberfest since 1895.
Seating capacity inside: 5,839
Seating capacity outside: 1,600

Hofbräu Festzelt (Hofbräu München) - The counterpart to the famous Hofbräuhaus, this tent is especially popular with Americans and Antipodeans.
Seating capacity inside: 6,896
Seating capacity outside: 3,622

Hacker-Festzelt (Hacker-Pschorr) - One of the largest tents on the Wiesn, they have a rock band that plays from 5:30 each evening (as opposed to the traditional brass band). This tent is also known as "Himmel der Bayern" (Heaven for Bavarians)
Seating capacity inside: 9,300
Seating capacity outside: 0

Schottenhammel (Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu) - Reckoned to be the most important tent at the Oktoberfest, mainly because it is where it starts. On the first Saturday of the event, no beer is allowed to be served until the mayor of Munich (currently Christian Ude) taps the first keg, at 12pm. Only then can the other tents begin to serve beer. Very popular amongst younger people.
Seating capacity inside: 6,000
Seating capacity outside: 4,000

Winzerer Fähndl (Paulaner) - This tent is noted for its huge tower, with a Maß of Paulaner beer sitting atop it.
Seating capacity inside: 8,450
Seating capacity outside: 2,450

Schützen-Festhalle (Löwenbräu) - This is a mid-sized tent. Situated under the Bavaria statue, the current tent was newly built in 2004.
Seating capacity inside: 4,442
Seating capacity outside: 0

Käfers Wiesen Schänke (Paulaner) - The smallest tent at the Oktoberfest, it is frequented by celebrities, and is known for its especially good food. In contrast to the other tents (which must close by 11pm), it is open until 0:30am, but it can be very difficult to get in.
Seating capacity inside: 1,000
Seating capacity outside: 1,900

Weinzelt (Nymphenburger Sekt, Paulaner Weißbier) - This tent offers a selection of more than 15 wines, as well as Weißbier.
Seating capacity inside: 1,300
Seating capacity outside: 600

Löwenbrau-Festhalle - Above the entrance is a 4.50 meter (15 foot) lion who occasionally drinks from his beer. This is overshadowed by another tower where another drinking lion sits.
Seating capacity inside: 5,700
Seating capacity outside: 2,800

Bräurosl (Hacker-Pschorr) - Named after the daughter of the original brewery owner (Pschorr), this tent has the usual brass band and a yodeler.
Seating capacity inside: 6,000
Seating capacity outside: 2,200

Augustiner-Festhalle (Augustiner Bräu) - Considered by many elderly locals to be the best tent, due to the fact it sells the favourite local brew, Augustiner.
Seating capacity inside: 6,000
Seating capacity outside: 2,500

Ochsenbraterei (Spaten) - True to its name, this tent offers a great variety of ox dishes.
Seating capacity inside: 5,900
Seating capacity outside: 1,500

Fischer Vroni (Augustiner) - Another of the smaller tents. Fisch is the German word for fish and this tent carries a huge selection in its menu.
Seating capacity inside: 2,695
Seating capacity outside: 700

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