The world’s largest beer festival has officially started, and a whopping 6 million people from around the world are expected to attend the event in Munich this year.
The Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival and this year it runs from the 19th September to the 4th October. The festival has lots of interesting facts that don’t just involve just incredible beer, as it is an important part of the Bavarian culture and has been held since 1810.
It has become so successful that many cities around the world have been holding their own version of the Oktoberfest over the past few years. If you’re planning to join the party, you should know there is so much more to it than just beer.
We have listed below a few of the top fun facts you should know about the Oktoberfest as our Friday Five feature this week:
1 – You can’t start drinking until the Mayor says so…
Source: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images Europe
After a twelve-gun salute at 12:00, the mayor needs to crack open the first beer barrel before anyone starts to drink! Wait to hear the yell “O’ Zapft is!” – which translates to “It’s tapped!” The first mug of beer then has to be passed on to the prime-minister, and only after that, the celebrations begin!
2 – Some of the waitresses can carry up to 19 steins at once!
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “Beer makes your stronger” – but in this case, it is meant, quite literally.
After years of practice and experience the waitresses at the festival can carry many of the extremely heavy beer mugs at once. In fact, one of them named Anita Schwarts broke the record by carrying the most beer steins at the same time: 19 in total, 5 in each hand, positioning 9 on top of those.
If that isn’t enough to impress you, she walked 40 metres carrying them without spilling a single drop, and each mug weighs roughly around 5 pounds!
3- Kids are allowed!
Source: Simon/Getty Images
The whole festival is surprisingly also a kid friendly zone, and for the past few years, the organisers have been working to make it a more of family friendly extravaganza. Traditional Bavarian parades, roller coasters, a giant ferris wheel and fairgrounds are all part of the festival, so that people of all ages can join in the fun.
Not only kids can enter the festival, they can also… drink beer! That’s right, Germany’s legal drinking age is only 16, and 14 year old kids can also drink, if accompanied by an adult.
4 – The Oktoberfest began as a marriage feast
As we mentioned, the festival was first held in 1810, however it was held as a wedding feast for the union of the Bavarian King Dudwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia.
All citizens of Munich were invited to attend the royal affair which was opened to the public to celebrate the happy couple. Horse races marked the event which took place at the Theresienwise (Theresia’s meadow), where it continues to be held today, although, the race horses may have now been replaced by another excuse to enjoy the beer.
5 – 1.5 million gallons of beer
That’s the amount of beer consumed by the 6 million people that attend the Okotoberfest each year. That is 6.7 million litres drank last year alone by the public. Not a bad turnaround, considering each litre costs about €10.00!
Have you got any other fun facts to add to our list?