Tomorrow morning, before the sun comes up, we will be getting on a train and heading to München for the opening day of Oktoberfest!! We are overly excited that we get to experience this! It's going to be something we've never experienced before. I know it's going to be crowded but I don't think we're prepared for just how crowded it's really going to be. We didn't pick opening day on purpose, it just happened that way. The Mayor of the city will do the official tapping of the keg at noon! I've heard that there is no way to even watch this. There are too many important people and news reporters that get front row seats. There will be 10 of us going so that will be another challenge, trying to keep us all together! We are ready for some great fest food, oopma bands and of course the beer!! I believe I read there will be 12 beer tents and some of them will seat 5,000 people!! So yes, there will be tens of thousands of people in München tomorrow! We are catching the train at 6:40am and will arrive there at 9:15am. We would love to get into one of the beer tents to experience the food, drink, and music but I have a feeling we will be waiting in line for a long time to get in one. I wouldn't be surprised if we just experience everything outside the tents.
For those of you that don't know much about Oktoberfest it traditionally starts in the third weekend in September and ends the first sunday of October. It began with the Royal Wedding on 12 October 1810. Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. Horse races in the presence of the royal family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in later years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest. In 1811, an added feature to the horse races was the first Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture. The horse races, which were the oldest - and at one time - the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds.
In 1818, the first carousel and two swings were set up. Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands, which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by the enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries. The remainder of the festival site was taken up by a fun-fair. The range of carousels offered was already increasing rapidly in the 1870's as the fairground trade continued to grow and develop in Germany.
Today, the Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest festival in the world, with an international flavor characteristic of the 20th century. At the foot of the Bavaria Statue, adjacent to the Huge Oktoberfest grounds there are also carousels, roller coasters and all the spectacular fun for the enjoyment and excitement of visitors of all ages.The festivities are accompanied by a program of events, including the Grand Entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Costume and Riflemen's Procession, and a concert involving all the brass bands represented at the "Wiesn". The Oktoberfest celebrated its 200th Anniversery in 2010, only Wars and cholera epidemics have briefely interrupted the yearly beer celebration.
So Oktoberfest is not only about drinking beer, it's a celebration that has pretty much turned into a giant fair! But way better than any state fair :)
And yes, we will be wearing our dirndl and lederhosen! Don't worry, I'll take plenty of pictures. Oh and speaking of pictures, I will not have my wonderful nice camera with me, so my photos will not be all that fantastic but I will definitely have some!