Oktoberfest may be named after the fall month, but it actually began Saturday. The 16-day event kicked off in Munich with Mayor Dieter Reiter tapping the first barrel of beer.
If the celebration is named Oktoberfest, why does it start in September?
The first Oktoberfest was held on Oct. 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, according to Oktoberfest.de. The celebration ran through Oct. 17, concluding with a horse race. As the Oktoberfest celebrations were repeated year after year, it was later extended and moved into the last weeks of September to allow festivalgoers to enjoy the warmer weather outside the beer tents. This year marks the 181st time the event has been held in the German city.
While the event in Munich is known for its abundance of beer, which is brewed within city limits, it also features various amusement park rides, games and traditional Bavarian foods such as sausages and pretzels. Over the years, the German celebration has made its way around the world with celebrations also being held in cities including Cincinnati; Bangalore, India, and Blumenau, Brazil.
For a list of beer halls to visit while participating in Oktoberfest, Muenchen.de provides a comprehensive guide to the German celebration, along with a map of all the available beer tents and halls. The Oktoberfest celebration will conclude on Oct. 5 in Munich, but celebration dates may vary in other cities.