Sep 12, 2011

Oktoberfest, a brief look…

Well, August is over, and September is now in full swing, many around the country are starting to experience fall, and all the beauty that comes with it. Those of us here in Arizona, are finally just happy to see a forecast without triple digits in it! (After almost 35 days of temps over 110 this summer, today’s 98 feels almost cool by comparison!). One of the traditions of this time of year, is Oktoberfest. Many here in America and throughout the world look forward to this, and celebrate this event, without any real knowledge as to why. Much like St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco De Meyo, this “day” has become little more than an excuse to drink more beer then we normally would find prudent, or healthy. So, I thought I would take a little time and fill you in on why it is your drinking (not that we really need a reason, but its always good to know).

The first thing we must settle is, Oktoberfest, takes place, mostly in September. It is actually a festival that runs from between 2, to upwards of 3 weeks long, ending after the first Sunday in Oct. The first festival took place in 1810. In the 200+ plus years of the event, it has been cancelled a total of 24 times, for reasons ranging from war, disease, or other national emergencies.


The very first event took place in Munich, on Oct 12, 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the son of King Maxamillian, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, to Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. They decided to make the wedding a sort of open invitation to all the people of Bavaria. An estimated 40,000 people showed up. An estimated 40,000 chickens, and 80,000 pork sausages were consumed, and some 1 million gallons of beer washed it all down. The main focus of the event (aside from the marriage) was a horse race. The race was still run until that aspect of the event was phased sometime in the 1960’s (I couldn’t find a reliable exact date). Later in the 1800’s, the festival was expanded to include a sort of agricultural fair to showcase all that Bavaria has to offer the world.

Can never have too many beer girls!

Got to love "beer girls"

Today, an estimated 6 million people attend the event, still held at the original location at Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields"), by the entrance of of city of Munich's front gates. Only beer which is brewed within the city limits of Munich is allowed to be served in this festival. Once this criteria is proven to be the case, the beer can then be designated Oktoberfest Beer. Oktoberfest Beer is a registered Trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers. Those Breweries are members of this exclusive Club and include, Augustinerbräu, Hacker, Pschorr Bräu, Hofbräu , Löwenbräu, Paulanerbräu, Spatenbräu. The festival is almost as famous for its food as well as its beer. Lots of pork sausage, pretzels, potato pancakes and more are very popular.

Oktoberfest "tents" can hold over 2000 people!

This year’s festival will be held from September 17th, through October 3rd (17 days). So, when the time comes, grab your favorite Okoberfest beer, hoist your mug, and give a hearty “Prost!”, and take a little time to experience a little German culture!

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