It's the last weekend of Oktoberfest 2011! The world's largest carnival and most renowned beer festival comes to a fuzzy end on Monday, Oct. 3.
But, before the hangover begins, the last weekend promises to be a big blowout.
The festival began on October 12, 1810 in honor of the marriage between Bavarian Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities lasted nearly a week.
The following years, the festival was repeated and additional days were added. The celebration was later moved up to September to take advantage of the warmer weather outside, hence Oktoberfest in September. This year, Oktoberfest takes place between Sept. 17 and Oct. 3.
Despite its origins in 1810, this year is officially the 178th Oktoberfest. The festivities were cancelled during both World Wars.
The Beer and the Costumes:
Oktoberfest draught typically comes in a mass, a one-liter glass mug that holds the beer, which is one-to-two percent stronger than your average brew and contains more sugar.
There will be plenty of bierleichen - Bavarian slang for drunk person (which literally translates to beer corpse) - stumbling around the fairgrounds this weekend - and they'll most likely be in traditional garb.
Bavarian dress is pretty much the standard at the festivities. Woman wear a dress called a dirndl (with an apron and corset) while men wear lederhosen (German for leather pants), suspenders, and a pair of knee-high socks.
The festival includes 14 beer tents, street vendors, and carnival rides. Each of the beer tents have a distinctive theme from Heimer's Roasted Duck and Chicken to the Hippodrom, or truly hip, where trendy young Germans are known to hang out.
A liter of beer at this year's festival costs between 8.7 and 9.2 euros.
The most famous (and largest) beer tent is the Schottenhamel traditional tent where the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg. This tent holds room for up to 10,000 beer drinkers!
This Year's Event:
Seven million people are expected to come from all over the world to attend the festival this year. Last year, visitors drank over 7.1 million one-liter mugs of beer. They also ate over 100,000 sausages, gingerbread cookies and other treats. With more revelers in attendance in 2011, those numbers should be even higher this year.
Oktoberfest is not just about the beer and food, there are also plenty of activities for the kids. A Ferris wheel, a couple of roller coasters, several haunted houses, games, and other attractions dot the festival grounds.
Have a look at this year's festivities below: