Oktoberfest 2011 literally ended with a bang when 60 men in traditional Bavarian costume fired guns into the air on Monday to signal the end of the festival.
The lederhosen clad Germans stood beneath the famous Bavaria statue in Munich, which over looks the fair grounds of Oktoberfest. Munich mayor Christian Ude, who opened the festival by tapping the first Spatan keg, lead a brass band in a march to end the three week long event.
The 178th Oktoberfest ran from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3. More than seven million people attended the beer-drinking celebration, making Oktoberfest once again the largest festival on earth.
All of the 14 beer tents, some of which hold up to 10,000 people, will be taken down and the massive fairground depopulated almost entirely, and then reconstructed in 2012.
Each of the Munich beer houses -- Pauliner, Hofbrau, Augustiner, Spatan and Hacker -- has it’s own tent, but visitors to Munich need not worry: each beer company also has a permanent beer hall somewhere in the city. (The most famous is the Hofbrauhaus, which is full nearly everyday of the year.)
During Oktoberfest, all of the tents were elaborately decorated and filled to the brim with locals and visitors, while German Um-pah bands played all day and night. This year, revelers drank 7.5 million liters of beer, about a half million more than last year.
There were 58 fighting involving the traditionally one-liter glass mugs called mass, which was down from 62 last year despite an increase in people. Festival workers also recorded 4,750 lost and found items, including 1,045 passports and 390 mobile telephones and 48 children. All of the children were claimed by their parents.
The atmosphere at the Oktoberfest was, until the last day, absolutely excellent, said Munich mayor Christian Ude, who described it as a Dream Oktoberfest, according to Reuters.