The first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival took place from October 12 through 17, 1810.
The festivities were eventually moved to September because warmer evenings made for a more enjoyable stroll among “die Wiesen” (the fields and gardens).
The mayor of Munich opens the festivities at noon on the first day of the fair by driving a wooden tap into a barrel of beer and proclaims O’zapft is! (“It’s tapped!”).
The 16-day party attracts over 6 million people every year.
1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausage, and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens are consumed during the two-week extravaganza.
Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was only canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war.
Revelers who have overindulged are often referred to as “Bierleichen” (“beer corpses”).
Click here to visit Germany’s official Oktoberfest site.