Oktoberfest began on October 12, 1810, with the celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig, who became King Ludwig I later on. He got married to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Bavaria.
On the day of October 17, five days after the marriage, a very large fest was held in front of the Sendinger Tor (one of the gates that can lead to Munich). Horse races are included in the festivities, which became an Oktoberfest highlight lasting until 1938.
In the year 1811, an agricultural fair was added and by the year 1818, beer pubs where included along with entertainers. It became a spectacular attraction and a way for visitors to learn about the place of Bavaria and it’s people.
Today, Oktoberfest in Munich is held in September because the weather is milder than that experienced in October. In Munich, it lasted for 16 days, usually starts on a Saturday in September and always ends on the first Sunday in October.
In 1887 Lederhosen and Dirndls became the traditional outfit of the participants. The festival traditionally begins with a parade, starts just before noon. Included are the civic leaders and the mayor, followed by horse-drawn with carts, musical bands and people wearing their costumes.
The parade ends at the oldest private tent located at Oktorbest (called Schottenhammel), the mayor opens the first keg of beer and the celebration starts. More than over 7,000,000 people attend the opening rites.
Munich’s six major brewers of the famous Oktoberfest Maerzen beer may be found in the seven halls where there is live band music throughout the day and evening. The six major Munich brewers are Hacker-Pschorr, Lowenbrau, Spaten, Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner, and Paulaner.
Oktoberfest beer was an amber-gold lager with 6% alcohol. German hops such as Hallertau and Tettnang are added. This Maerzen beer was served at the Crown Prince’s wedding in 1810.
Maerzen beers were brewed in March, lagered or cold-stored in caves for around 10-12 weeks, which will be ready to drink by the summer or early fall. Today, Oktoberfest beers tend to be lighter in color and body than the traditional Maerzen styled beer.
Outside the beer tents, you can see people dancing, live music, sideshows, carnival rides, and more importantly all types of German food.
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