When it's the Wies'n – local speak for Oktoberfest – in Munich, the Bavarian capital, around seven million people make the pilgrimage to Theresienwiese. This is the world's biggest beer festival, so the catering is on a massive scale: millions of roast chickens are eaten and a veritable herd of spit-roast oxen is washed down by several million towering mugs of beer. Dating back over 200 years, the Oktoberfest is a hallowed tradition that, despite its size, still spells out what it means to be Bavarian.
It has millions of international fans and has spawned many imitations around the world – but there can only ever be one original Oktoberfest. Ever since Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese in 1810 and a grand horse race was held in a field on the edge of the city, the site has been known as Theresienwiese – and the Oktoberfest as the Wies'n. Traditionally the festivities begin on the dot of noon on the first Saturday after 15 September, when the mayor of Munich taps the first keg and yells "O’zapft is!" Once the Oktoberfest is officially open, a twelve-gun salute signals to the bar staff to get the beer flowing and then there's no holding back. The 10,000 seats in the beer tents start to fill up, the fairground rides whirl, the band strikes up and it's party time. Be sure to book your hotel room well in advance because, like the seats in the beer tents, they're few and far between at Wiesn time.
20-Sep-2014 - 05-Oct-2014
2014 programme highlights:
Saturday 20 September Procession of brewers and their families to the Oktoberfest and official opening by the mayor of Munich
Tuesday 23 September Family day with reduced prices for children and parents
Sunday 28 September Concert by Wiesn bands on the Bavaria statue steps
Sunday 5 October at 12 noon Traditional gun salute on the Bavaria statue steps
All information on prices, dates and opening times are subject to change without notice.
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