Around 6 million people flock to the Oktoberfest in Munich every year. For three weeks, people party, eat & drink on the Theresienwiese in the Bavarian capital. I enjoy the party too, as photographer & as drinking guest now & again.

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Although I say it every year that I can’t be bothered with lugging my gear around the Oktoberfest site I do. Why? Well, it is naturally an annual event that you just can’t and shouldn’t miss living in the Munich area. Pretty girls in figure hugging Dirndl are to be seen daily in the underground and almost everywhere else in the town. A week or so before the opening ceremony where the Mayor of Munich hammers the first tap into a beer barrel shouting “O’ zapft is” literally meaning that the first barrel has been tapped one notices how many more people are present in and around Munich. The hotels and hostels are all full and the average price for a room has at least doubled or even tripled.

The layout of the “Wiesn” (Meadow) as the locals call it changes from year to year making the visit each time interesting especially from a photographic point of view. It is always a challenge to get good results due to the sheer mass of people under way. On average around 6 million visitors make the pilgrimage to this beer Mecca on the edge of the Bavarian Alps. The numbers of visitors was less in comparison to last year, around 400,000 less probably due to the high beer price of  10,20 € for a Mass on average (1 liter glass krug).

Saturday October 3rd was a public holiday celebrating 25 years of German unity and the fall of the Berlin wall between East & West Germany making a visit to the Wiesn for many Germans obligatory. Add to this a perfect warm, sunny Autumn day and you can imagine how crowded it was. I’m glad that I went during the week when it’s a lot less busy.


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Did You Know?

Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest – or “Wiesn”, to the locals – is not a beer festival, but the anniversary celebration of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. When they got married in 1810, the royals commemorated the event with a public party where not a single drop of the amber nectar was spilled! It wasn’t until 1819 that the horse races were replaced by beer vendors. Despite their initial prudence, you’ll still find doting monarchists today raising a krug in honour of the old lord and lady who made it all possible.

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