It's almost that time of year again. That's right, Oktoberfest 2012 will be kicking off next weekend from September 22nd - October 7th and is expected to welcome around five million visitors from Germany and around the world.
Whilst it may be a well-known fact that the Munich Oktoberfest is the biggest and most famous beer festival in the world, little seems to be known about the history of this great event we have all come to know and love...maybe a little too much sometimes. People seem to assume it's all just about the great beer, food, and, of course, the countless amount of eye-candy in their Dirndls and Lederhosen - with little thought to what made the festival what it is today.
Originally intended as a celebration for the people of Munich to mark the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, it was decided in 1819 to make Oktoberfest an annual event after the people of Munich assumed responsibility for the organisation and planning. 2010 saw the 200th anniversary of the Oktoberfest.
As a result of war and cholera outbreaks, Oktoberfest has been cancelled a total of 24 times during the past 200 years and didn't take place at all during World War ll between 1939-1945. After the war, between 1946-1948, Oktoberfest was celebrated simply as an "Autumn Fest" where people were only permitted to drink normal beer and not the traditional Oktoberfest beer, which is 2% stronger.
Since 1950, every Oktoberfest has been officially opened with a traditional twelve-gun salute and a tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00. It has also been known around the world as the biggest and most impressive beer festival since 1960.
We at The Munich Eye wish you all a very good and memorable time at Oktoberfest, and, most importantly, drink sensibly and stay safe.