Oktoberfest: Tens of thousands storm gates as Munich beer festival opens

Tens of thousands of people were on hand at the start of Munich’s Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival. An hour ahead of the official opening, several tents had already closed their doors due to overcrowding.

Tens of thousands of people stormed the Oktoberfest beer festival grounds on Saturday after organizers opened the gates in the German city of Munich (picture-alliance/dpa/T. Hase)

Tens of thousands of people ran through the entrance of the Oktoberfest beer festival grounds on Saturday, racing to get a seat in one of the festival’s massive beer tents after organizers opened the gates in the Bavarian city of Munich.  

An hour ahead of the official opening, several tents had already closed their doors due to overcrowding. Even those on the tents’ guest lists were not being admitted, organizers said.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first keg on Saturday with two blows of a hammer and the cry of “O’zapft is” — “it’s tapped.” As tradition demands, he handed the first mug to the state’s premier, Markus Söder, and the pair drank to a peaceful festival.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter (l) and Bavarian State Prime Minister Markus Söder (r) drink beer on the opening day of the 186th Oktoberfest in Munich

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (l) and Bavarian Premier Markus Söder (r) drink beer at this year’s Oktoberfest

Beer isn’t cheap

The number of visitors to Oktoberfest will likely be high this year, with around 6 million people from around the world expected at the festival before it ends on October 6. Attendance in 2018 increased by 14% compared to the previous year, with 6.3 million people attending the festival.

Even though it attracts millions of visitors every year, the beer isn’t cheap: One liter can cost up to €11.80 ($13). As in previous years, backpacks and large bags are banned for security reasons.

The first Oktoberfest, in 1810, was actually held in October. Although it’s still known as Oktoberfest, it now opens each year in September. The reason for that is Bavaria’s bad weather. It’s even been known to snow in October, which would be a problem for the festival. The world-famous beer celebration was moved up to September in 1904.

  • DO’S AND DON’TS AT THE OKTOBERFEST
  • Dancing – yes, please!Having a beer in a tent is a must for every Wiesn visitor. Once you’re inside, you’ll be carried away by the music and the fun. People sway and dance. The rule is quite clear: on benches yes, but not on tables. Whoever tries to dance on a table risks being ordered out. And it would be a shame if the first visit to the Oktoberfest ended like this. So better to dance one level down on the bench.
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Our Editor Konstantin was born in Moscow’s Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (VDNKh) district on 23 February 1961 the second son of a School master. Educated at Kazan National Research Technical University Казанский национальный исследовательский технический университет имени А. Н. Туполева he graduated in Economics in 1982. Recruited to the Soviet 40th Army serving as a Сержант in Aghanistan,later transferring to 1008th Flak Artillery Regiment, before being struck in the shoulder by a stray shell fragment. Konstantin invalided out of the Army . Starting up as Soviet blogger ‘Maaxmann’, later becoming a guard for a Moscow ballet company and it was there accompanying them in the West, that he had his first taste of the ‘High Life’. Failing to return to Russia he resided first in Reutlingen, where he became a correspondent for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung…later he moved to London to write for the Telegraph,where he now resides with his wife and 2 children.

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