If you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet destination for your late September vacation, look somewhere other than Munich’s annual celebration of beer, pretzels, and Bavarian culture. Oktoberfest, held each year in Germany’s third largest city, will commence Saturday, September 22nd, and fans of the festival can already taste the beer and hear the polka music. Though a bit confusing because of the name, Oktoberfest actually takes place in the final days of September, leading into the beginning of the namesake month. The 2017 celebration featured 7.2 million visitors, nearly 7 million liters of beer consumed, and more than one hundred thousand incidences of festival goers getting caught trying to smuggle out one of the world-famous Oktoberfest mugs from the venue tents. With millions of visitors from around the world expected at Oktoberfest 2018, it will surely be an event to remember. Now let’s take a look at the details of the 2018 festival and the history behind it.
Oktoberfest 2018 Details
What: 185th Annual Oktoberfest Festival
Dates: September 22 – October 7, 2018
Location: Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King of Bavaria) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Munich’s citizens were invited to the fields of Theresienwiese, just outside of the city gates, to celebrate the royal event. Though originally dedicated to horseracing, this was the first instance of the festival that would later develop into what we know today as Oktoberfest. Bavarian agriculture exhibits were added to the festival in 1811 to showcase the crops that were produced at the time.
Though small beer stands existed in the first decades of the festival, it would not become the main attraction until the introduction of the large beer tent in 1896. With the patronage of local breweries, beer consumption steadily grew as demand increased with each year. When the festival became a tourist destination, Bavarian foods became more of an attraction than it had been when the patrons were exclusively German citizens. As with most traditions, the final product is essentially an amalgamation of the popular facets from years past with the less popular going by the wayside. What began as a marriage ceremony with horseraces and agriculture became one of the largest beer celebrations in the entire world.