Oktoberfest 2013 kicks off in Munich this Saturday, September 21, when thousands of revelers will stream into the tents and say “prost!” with a big glass mug of Spatenbrau. The annual celebration draws Bavarians and visitors alike to Munich’s Theresienweise (or, affectionately, the “Weis’n”) for what is arguably the world’s largest fair.
Originally conceived to celebrate of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Bavaria, early iterations culminated in a horse race. Today, festivities include a twelve-gun salute, a ceremonial tapping of the first keg, carnival games and rides, and of course plenty of Reinheitsgebot beer. The selected beers deemed worthy for sale in the massive tents are held to strict standards: only a handful of breweries are authorized to produce Oktoberfest beer, and all beer must be produced within Munich city limits with a minimum of 6% alcohol by volume.
Despite the festival’s tipsy reputation, the city of Munich has done a lot to keep the celebrations as family-friendly as possible by taking such measures as regulating the volume and type of music played. There’s also plenty to do and see, beer-free. Oompah bands and street performances abound, as do tents shilling impressive menus of traditional street food—the pretzels, sausages, dumplings, noodles, and roasted meats are all worth loosening the waistband on your lederhosen.
Have you been to Oktoberfest? What are your tips for having the best time?
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